Ethical issues, safety, and data integrity in clinical trials

Inflamm Bowel Dis. 2005 Nov;11 Suppl 1:S17-21. doi: 10.1097/01.mib.0000184850.46440.ea.


Published in 1974, the Belmont Report established the ethical principles for conducting clinical research in the United States. The essential concepts are respect for the research participant, beneficence for society at large, and justice (equal access to participation and equal treatment) toward subjects in a research study. These principles are applied through the use of informed consent, risk/benefit assessment, and the impartial selection of study subjects. Strict adherence to these criteria often results in conflicts of interest, which the investigator must anticipate and manage. Investigators must also be thoroughly acquainted with the principles of Good Clinical Practice and regulatory requirements. Recent implementation of the Privacy Rule now requires the investigator to protect not only the safety but the privacy of the research subject. While the regulatory obligations can appear onerous, strict compliance results in clinical research that is safe, scientifically sound, and ethical.

MeSH terms

  • Clinical Trials as Topic / ethics*
  • Confidentiality*
  • Conflict of Interest
  • Ethics, Medical*
  • Guideline Adherence*
  • Humans
  • Informed Consent
  • Quality Control
  • Safety*