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The case for a new system for oversight of research on human subjects
  1. Konrad Jamrozik
  1. University of Western Australia, Western Australia


    The increasing emphasis on evidence-based clinical practice has thrown into sharp focus multiple deficiencies in current systems of ethical review. This paper argues that a complete overhaul of systems for ethical oversight of studies involving human subjects is now required as developments in medical, epidemiological and genetic research have outstripped existing structures for ethical supervision. It shows that many problems are now evident and concludes that sequential and piecemeal amendments to present arrangements are inadequate to address these. At their core present systems of ethical review still rely on the integrity and judgment of individual investigators. One possible alternative is to train and license research investigators, make explicit their responsibilities and have ethics committees devote much more of their time to monitoring research activity in order to detect those infringing the rules.

    • Medical ethics
    • epidemiology
    • regulation
    • genetics

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    • Konrad Jamrozik, MBBS, DPhil, FAFPHM, is Professor of Public Health, University of Western Australia.