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ORIGINAL ARTICLE

An audit of institutional ethics committee queries raised after initial project submission by a single research department at a tertiary referral center in India


1 Department of Clinical Pharmacology, Seth GS Medical College and KEM Hospital, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
2 Department of Paediatrics, Surya Children's Hospital, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India

Correspondence Address:
Nithya Jaideep Gogtay,
Department of Clinical Pharmacology, Seth GS Medical College and KEM Hospital, Parel, Mumbai - 400 012, Maharashtra
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/picr.picr_91_22

Introduction: The institutional ethics committees (IECs) raise queries following protocol reviews. The quality of these queries would be a useful metric to assess how well the IEC executes its fundamental role of protecting participants. Methods: Queries received after the initial review and replies sent by a single research department were evaluated. A content analysis was done to identify the domains and categories of queries. We categorized these queries as administrative, ethics related, and scientific. The impact of each query in improving the science or safeguarding the rights and safety of research participants (ethics) was evaluated by two authors of this manuscript: one affiliated and the other nonaffiliated to the institute. Kappa statistics were used to evaluate for agreement between the two. Results: A total of 13 studies (investigator-initiated studies [IISs]: 7 and pharmaceutical industry-sponsored studies [PSSs]: 6) formed the final sample size for analysis. The total number of queries was 364 (IIS: 106 and PSS: 258; P < 0.001). With regard to the categories, we found n = 42 (11.54%) to be irrelevant at that stage of the review process; n = 51 (14.01%) were about information already available which the IEC had missed; n = 67 (18.41%) queries where the IEC needed paraphrasing; n = 50 (13.74%) were entirely relevant with the need for further clarification; and n = 154 (42.31%) had been missed by the investigator during the initial submission. The overall agreement between the affiliated and unaffiliated investigators was just 12.9% (P < 0.001). Conclusions: We found that approximately 25% of the queries raised by the IEC were redundant. It is our opinion that this redundancy could have been channeled into greater focus on scientific and ethical aspects of the protocol. Ongoing dialog between investigators and ethics committees may help address this. Perspectives between the affiliated and the unaffiliated investigators with regard to the relevance of queries were grossly different.
    
 

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    -  Raj JP
    -  Saxena U
    -  Gogtay NJ
    -  Bavdekar SB
    -  Thatte UM
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