ethics committee

a group including lay people, medical practitioners, and other experts set up to review medical practice. There are two types of ethics committee. A research ethics committee will review research activities that involve the use of human subjects. It is responsible for safeguarding the rights and welfare of patients by ensuring that they are adequately informed of the procedures involved in a research project (including the use of dummy or placebo treatments as controls), that the tests and/or therapies are relatively safe, and that no-one is pressurized into participating. There are sometimes legal as well as professional requirements to seek ethics committee approval, e.g. when carrying out clinical trials of drugs. Local research ethics committees (LRECs) oversee research carried out entirely in one locality. There are also multicentre research ethics committees (MRECs), which oversee research carried out in a large number of centres. A doctor may approach a clinical ethics committee voluntarily with ethical issues in other areas of his clinical practice. All ethics committees have an advisory function only, although the findings of a research ethics committee carry immense political weight.

The new mediacal dictionary. 2014.

Look at other dictionaries:

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