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Year : 2017  |  Volume : 8  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 17-21

Ethics committees and the changed clinical research environment in India in 2016: A perspective!

Ethics Council of n Society for Clinical Research, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India

Correspondence Address:
Sanish Davis
1803, Sapphire, Nirmal Lifestyle, Mulund West, Mumbai - 400 080, Maharashtra
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/2229-3485.198555

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Introduction: Institutional and Independent Ethics Committees (ECs) have as their primary mission the protection of human research subjects. The Central Drugs Standard Control Organization has in the period 2013–2016 introduced several new regulations and amendments to existing regulations overseeing the conduct of Research in India. Several of these have direct effect on the functioning of the EC from a review, approval, and oversight mechanism. Methodology: The Ethics Council of Indian Society for Clinical Research conducted a questionnaire survey among EC members to understand the impact of these changes in their functioning. The domains surveyed included awareness about recent changes/amendments and impacts, serious adverse events (SAEs) and compensation, informed consent and audio-video recording, monitoring and auditing of research, and future working of ECs. Results: Seventy-nine percent of ECs are of the opinion that the new regulations/guidelines will add to their existing burden in the process of review and approval, providing subject protection and research oversight. Even though 68% of ECs stated that they are comfortable with SAE assessment and compensation determination, they state that there is variability in calculation of compensation amount using the formulae. An overwhelming majority (80%) of ECs stated that they were not in favor of centralized EC for providing review, approval, and oversight of clinical studies. Discussion: Ethics Committees act as local regulator for clinical trials at sites providing Human Subject protection. The survey captures the contemporary issues faced by the ECs and also raises important questions on the ease of doing research, oversight of approved research, and administrative burden on the EC. Conclusion: Recent changes in regulations have on the one hand empowered Ethics committees but brought in challenges in the way that they provide oversight and monitor research carried out at the site.

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