A partnership to resolve the conundrumBMJ 1997; 314 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.314.7084.890a (Published 22 March 1997) Cite this as: BMJ 1997;314:890
- Peter King, senior medical advisora
- a Roche Products, PO Box 8, Welwyn Garden City AL7 3AY
As Professor Cleaton-Jones points out, ethics committees protect patients from exploitation and ensure that the benefits of a clinical trial outweigh the risks. However, ethics committees are not the only group charged with this responsibility. A drug company's medical division also takes responsibility for patients' welfare during a clinical study, and patient advocacy groups play an increasing role. In other words, drug companies now work alongside clinical investigators, ethics committees, and patients' groups. Not only does this enhance a study's scientific credibility, but it helps to resolve problems facing ethics committees.
Nevertheless, the industry recognises that there are inequalities. In Britain it is relatively common for subjects enrolled in a trial of a new treatment for HIV infection to continue to receive …