Ethics in clinical drug trial research in private practice
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Introduction: Private clinics and clinicians have been involved in clinical drug trials for approximately two decades. This paper reviews the ethical consideration inherent in this process. Methods: Involvement of a single community based, private, Australian neurological clinic in the conduct of trials was audited. Changes in ethical considerations were analysed. Results: The clinic previously audited its clinical trial involvement, starting with pharmaceutical company orchestrated trials. These were vetted by hospital based ethics committees (ECs) which then refused to review private research. A private EC accommodating NH & MRC standards was formed to assess private research. Indemnity concerns forced return to institutional ECs with government guaranteed indemnification. Trials evolved to investigator initiated, company sponsored studies thence a company asking the clinic to devise, sponsor and manage a trial. The latter relegated trial co-ordination to the clinic which would control publication thereby creating new ethical standards. Discussion: Private practice trial involvement evolved from reluctant inclusion to a pivotal role in privately sponsored studies. Access to ECs is government endorsed and publication is independent for investigator-sponsored trials. There has been modification of standard operating procedures and enhanced ethical standards.
Medicine and Law: an international journal
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