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Assessing Benefits in Clinical Research

December 20, 2016

There are increasing expectations about the potential of medical research to produce clinically significant benefits. And the increasing public demand to participate in clinical research reflects expectations that individuals can directly benefit from research participation. At the same time, there is growing concern about the adequacy of the system of institutional review boards (IRBs) to … Read more

The Invisible Hand in Clinical Research

December 20, 2016

Over the past decade, the number of clinical trials registered with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has increased dramatically. The business of clinical research has become more diverse, involving academic institutions, clinician-researchers in community settings, pharmaceutical companies, and contract research organizations. This growth has been accompanied by increasing concerns about the ethical conduct of … Read more

Exception From Informed Consent for Emergency Research

December 20, 2016

On 2 October 1996 the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) each published a final rule allowing emergency research to proceed without the consent of its participants in a strictly limited circumstance. This waiver of informed consent applies to “research activities that may be carried out in … Read more


December 20, 2016

Somewhere near the end of a consent form, script, recruitment letter, or brochure, researchers usually state that they will keep information “confidential.” But how is this promise evaluated by the Institutional Review Board (IRB) and kept by the researchers? Given the researchers’ confidentiality plan, the IRB must assess the risks related to participation, including risks … Read more

A Critical Review of Health Research Ethical Guidelines Regarding Caregiver Consent for HIV Research Involving Minors in South Africa: Ethical and Legal Issues

October 18, 2016

Background. Over the past decades there have been tremendous efforts to improve the ethical conduct of research involving humans throughout the world. As a one-size-fits-all philosophy can no longer work, most countries have developed specific legal and ethical guidelines for research, tailored to their own context. We reviewed South African (SA) ethical guidelines and Health … Read more

An Evaluation of the Middle East Research Training Initiative Tool in Assessing Effective Functioning of Research Ethics Committees

August 31, 2016

The effective functioning of a research ethics committee (REC) can be evaluated using self-assessment tools. The Middle East Research Ethics Training Initiative (MERETI) tool can be used by one member, typically the Chair, to score an REC. The consistency of these scores across several members of an REC has never been evaluated. This study examined … Read more

Navigating Professional Norms in an Interprofessional Environment

January 1, 2016

One of the hallmarks of a profession is the ability to set boundaries and exclude others from practicing in the field; however in an increasingly interprofessional world, these boundaries can be difficult to navigate. Recently, the Supreme Court case, North Carolina State Board of Dental Examiners v. Federal Trade Commission, reminded us that jurisdictional debates … Read more