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April 14, 2004

Improving the Decision Processes of Institutional Review Boards

Author Affiliations

Letters Section Editor: Stephen J. Lurie, MD, PhD, Senior Editor.

JAMA. 2004;291(14):1698-1699. doi:10.1001/jama.291.14.1698-b

To the Editor: In their survey of institutional review board (IRB) chairpersons, Dr Shah and colleagues1 found that the chairpersons were quite variable in their application of the federal risk and benefit categories for pediatric research, and that their judgments were sometimes contradicted by the available data on risks and the regulations themselves. However, these problems are not confined to pediatric research,2 which raises larger questions about variability across all IRBs. Although some variation may be acceptable, inappropriately high variability can impede the progress of research and may add extra cost.3

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