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Opinions of IRB Members and Chairs Regarding Investigators' Relationships with Industry
Joel S. Weissman, Greg Koski, Christine Vogeli, Carrie Thiessen and Eric G. Campbell
Journal of Empirical Research on Human Research Ethics: An International Journal
Vol. 3, No. 1 (March 2008), pp. 3-13
Published by: Sage Publications, Inc.
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1525/jer.2008.3.1.3
Page Count: 12
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THE EFFECTS OF CONFLICTS OF INTEREST on the conduct of human research have been roundly debated, but less attention has been paid to the role of Institutional Review Boards (IRBs) in their identification and management. Government and private policy recommendations disagree about IRBs' responsibility in this area. A survey focusing on respondents' attitudes and behaviors regarding consideration of investigator and institutional financial relationships with industry when reviewing research protocols was mailed to a random sample of 893 IRB members and 316 IRB chairs at 115 academic institutions (response rates of 67% and 72%, respectively). More than half of IRB members and chairs felt that industry relationships posed a moderate or big problem for research integrity nationally, and about one-third thought such relationships were a problem at their own institution. Approximately two-thirds felt that investigator-industry relationships should be considered when reviewing protocols regardless of whether they are deemed to be conflicts of interest. While more than 90% of IRB members and chairs believed that investigators' relationships should be disclosed to research participants, 61% of members and chairs reported that these relationships were not always disclosed to participants. While more than 80% believed that institutional relationships should be disclosed to research participants, only 39% of members and chairs said this happened all the time. Some beliefs of IRB members and chairs are at odds with recommendations to limit the role of IRBs in the management of potential investigator conflicts. Lack of unambiguous guidelines has led to inconsistent practices among IRBs.
Journal of Empirical Research on Human Research Ethics: An International Journal © 2008 Sage Publications, Inc.