Medicine And Books

A Decent Proposal: Ethical Review of Clinical Research

BMJ 1997; 314 doi: (Published 31 May 1997) Cite this as: BMJ 1997;314:1632
  1. Susan Bewley, director of obstetrics
  1. Guy's and St Thomas's Hospitals Trust, London

    D Evans, M Evans / John Wiley and Sons, £24.95, pp 230 / ISBN 0471 96334 8

    All of us like to think that we practise to high ethical standards and that these standards carry over to our research activities. I am not alone in finding the review process of research ethics committees a tiresome hurdle, and I thank goodness that I have not been invited to sit on one. And the BMJ wanted me to review a whole book? Well, it was a good read and enlightening about the fundamental importance of ethical review. The authors know their subject thoroughly from both a theoretical and practical background, and have peppered the test on virtually every page with light hearted quotations just in case you might consider putting the book down to have a cup of tea.

    Starting with some history of research ethics committees, they ask whether it should be a societal obligation to take part in research (like paying tax). Our Western liberal view is that the research …

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