Review Boards: A System 'in Jeopardy'?

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Science  19 Jun 1998:
Vol. 280, Issue 5371, pp. 1830-1831
DOI: 10.1126/science.280.5371.1830

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A report last week by the Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services warned Congress that the growth of commercially sponsored clinical trials, coupled with an expected boom in government-funded clinical research, is outpacing the ability of a 25-year-old federal system to oversee volunteer recruitment, fee payment, and other issues that come up in research on human subjects. The warning provoked strong responses from defenders of the system, who countered that the report offers no evidence that patients have been harmed or are at risk and noted that every clinical trial goes through many layers of ethical review.