Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Ethics News: Changes to Rules Governing Human Participants in Research

The New York Times reported on July 24th that the U.S. Government is proposing major changes in the rules covering research involving human participants. The proposed changes would include expanding the Common Rule's coverage to all studies conducted at institutions that receive money from any of the 15 federal agencies that have adopted the Common Rule, even if the study is being funded by a another, non-governmental organization, such as a drug company. Other changes would allow a single institutional review board to oversee studies taking place a multiple sites, and aim and making it less cumbersome to do surveys or other social science research in which risks to participants are usually less than for medical studies.

The goal of these changes is to strengthen some protections in regards the changing research climate, such as the growing use of DNA data in research, while also reducing red tape that can impede the success of some studies.

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