Intended for healthcare professionals

Research Article

European Ethical Review Committee: the experience of an international ethics committee reviewing protocols for drug trials.

Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1984; 289 doi: (Published 20 October 1984) Cite this as: Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1984;289:1052
  1. J M Faccini,
  2. P N Bennett,
  3. J L Reid


    An international ethics review committee, founded seven years ago, has several unusual features: it selects its own members, who are independent of the drug industry; it includes members with no medical or paramedical background, such as lay people and lawyers; and it reviews protocols together with the study's sponsor. Membership of 31 from nine European countries enables frequent meetings and there is a full meeting of the committee every year to review progress and consider policy. Of the first 294 protocols for phase I, II, or III trials reviewed, 37 were admitted outright, 243 were amended (usually during the discussion of the protocol), and 14 were rejected. It is suggested that, to overcome the problem of ethics review in smaller institutions, regional health authorities in Britain might consider establishing similar committees.