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Health Agencies Update
May 16, 2001

Accreditation for Clinical Trials

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JAMA. 2001;285(19):2439. doi:10.1001/jama.285.19.2439-JHA10004-2-1

To improve patient protection in clinical trials, an Institute of Medicine panel is recommending a voluntary accreditation system to certify when research organizations meet standards.

High-profile failures highlight the flaws of the current piecemeal system, said panelist Mary Faith Marshall, PhD, professor of medicine and bioethics at Kansas University Medical Center. "People realize that the system is broken, at least in part."

The current system was designed when government-funded, single-institution studies were the norm. Today, typical phase-3 trials involve dozens of institutions and thousands of patients and may be funded by drug companies. Institutional review boards are overwhelmed, said Marshall.