Impact of recent regulatory notifications on an institutional ethics committee

Shruti S Bhide, Sharmila V Jalgaonkar, Janhavi V Katkar, Yashashri C Shetty, Raakhi K Tripathi, Padmaja A Marathe, Urmila M Thatte

Abstract

The Government of India came out with a slew of notifications to streamline clinical research in the beginning of 2013 in response to the Supreme Court’s orders and a Parliamentary Standing Committee’s report. The notifications greatly influenced the structure, review process, outcomes and administration of ethics committees across India. In this study, we attempted to objectively evaluate the impact of these notifications on our institutional ethics committee’s (IEC) structure, review process, outcomes and administration. The results revealed that though the number of regulatory studies reviewed by our IEC remained the same, the number of studies actually approved decreased with an increase in the turnover time. The number of serious adverse events (SAEs) reported also fell, although the number of meetings held to discuss these SAEs increased significantly. The administrative workload rose with increased documentation. Though the annual income of the IEC fell marginally, the expenses shot up. We believe that the notifications definitely had an impact on the structure, review process, outcomes and administration of our IEC, although it remains to be seen whether they had a real impact on the research participants’ safety and well-being.

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