ICMR to launch dissemination programmes across country to create awareness on National Ethical Guidelines

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In order to create awareness on the National Ethical Guidelines, released recently by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), amongst all stakeholders such as researchers, ethics committee member, students, nurses as well as faculty involved in biomedical and health research, a series of dissemination programs are being organized by the ICMR across the country.

The first such dissemination program will be held on November 16 at JLN Auditorium, AIIMS, Ansari Nagar, New Delhi. The second dissemination program will be held on November 30 at AMCMET Medical College, Ahmedabad. The third programme will be held on December 14 at Bhargava Auditorium, PGIMER, Chandigarh. The fourth awareness program will be on December 21 at Visakhapatnam. The exact venue will be announced soon. The fifth dissemination program is scheduled to be held in January 2018 at Chennai and the date and venue will be announced soon, according to ICMR officials.

Earlier on October 12, 2017, the ICMR had released the revised the ICMR ethical guidelines “National Ethical Guidelines for Biomedical and Health Research Involving Human Participants, 2017” and “National Ethical Guidelines for Biomedical Research Involving Children” which are aimed at protecting and safeguarding the interests of individuals, communities and society as a whole.

These ethical guidelines are expected to address the ethical challenges involved in a variety of biomedical and health research areas and will be a useful document for the researchers, ethics committees, institution and sponsors engaged in the conduct of biomedical and health research involving human participants across the country.

These guidelines are applicable to all biomedical, social and behavioural science research for health conducted in India involving human participants, their biological material and data. The purpose of such research should be directed towards enhancing knowledge about the human condition while maintaining sensitivity to the Indian cultural, social and natural environment; conducted under conditions such that no person or persons become mere means for the betterment of others and that human beings who are participating in any biomedical and/or health research or scientific experimentation are dealt with in a manner conducive to and consistent with their dignity and well-being, under conditions of professional fair treatment and transparency; and subjected to a regime of evaluation at all stages of the research, such as design, conduct and reporting of the results thereof.

The new guidelines have many new sections added up and many changes incorporated in the existing sections. There are now a total of 12 sections including Responsible Conduct of Research, Informed Consent Process, Vulnerability, Public Health Research, Social and Behavioural Sciences Research for Health, Biological materials, Biobanking and Datasets and Research during Humanitarian Emergencies and Disasters. Many new issues have been added up as subsections e.g. sexual minorities (LGBT), multicentric studies, research using datasets etc. The section on ethics review process has been elaborated to help the many ethics committees who have doubt about the various procedures to be followed.

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