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Education And Debate

A partnership to resolve the conundrum

BMJ 1997; 314 doi: (Published 22 March 1997) Cite this as: BMJ 1997;314:890
  1. Peter King, senior medical advisora
  1. 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 …

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