Ethical Guidelines, Federal Regulations and State Statutes

Ethical Guidelines

Nuremberg Code
Developed in response to the Nuremberg Trials of Nazi doctors who performed unethical experimentation during World War II, the Code was the first major international document to provide guidelines on research ethics. It made voluntary consent a requirement in clinical research studies, emphasizing that consent can be voluntary only if participants are able to consent; they are free from coercion (i.e., outside pressure); and they comprehend the risks and benefits involved. The Code also states that researchers should minimize risk and harm, make sure that risks do not significantly outweigh potential benefits, use appropriate study designs, and guarantee participants′ freedom to withdraw at any time.

Declaration of Helsinki
At the 18th World Medical Assembly in Helsinki, Finland, the World Medical Association adopted 12 principles to guide physicians on ethical considerations related to biomedical research. It emphasizes the distinction between medical care that directly benefits the patient and research that may or may not provide direct benefit. These guidelines were revised at subsequent meetings in 1975 (Tokyo, Japan), 1983 (Venice, Italy), 1989 (Hong Kong), 1996 (Somerset West, Republic of South Africa) and 2000 (Edinburgh, Scotland).

Belmont Report
The National Commission for the Protection of Human Subjects of Biomedical and Behavioral Research issued "The Belmont Report: Ethical Principles and Guidelines for the Protection of Human Subjects of Research." The report sets forth three principles underlying the ethical conduct of research: Respect for persons, Beneficence, and Justice. The Belmont Report explains how these principles apply to research practices. In response to the report, both the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration revised their regulations on research studies that involve people.

UCI agrees to uphold the ethical principles of the Belmont Report. UCI will apply DHHS regulations to all federally-funded proposed research involving human participants. Commensurate protections are in place for all other human subject research conducted at or under the jurisdiction of UCI.

Federal Regulations

Federalwide Assurance - The Federal Policy (Common Rule) for the protection of human subjects requires that each institution "engaged" in Federally-supported human subject research file an Assurance with the Office of Human Research Protections. The Assurance formalizes the institution's commitment to protect human subjects. UCI's Federalwide Assurance (FWA# 00004071) was approved on January 31, 2003 and remains in effect unless otherwise notified. NOTE: The expiration date is revised each time the FWA is modified.

IRBs reviewing clinical investigations involving Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulated products are required to register with the FDA. The FDA requirement operates in coordination with the Office for Human Research Protections (OHRP), which already requires registration of IRBs reviewing federally-supported research. IRB registration does not represent accreditation or certification by the FDA or OHRP. The agencies do not provide certificates confirming IRB registration. UCI's Institutional Review Boards (IRBs) are registered with the FDA in compliance with this new rule. UCI's IRB Organization Number is IORG 0000236. See the IRB Roster Listing to view each IRB's registration number and the list of IRB members.

Office of Human Research Protection (OHRP)

    • 45 CFR Part 46 (aka "The Common Rule")
      This is the basic Health and Human Services (HHS) policy for the protection of human subjects - required for all federally funded proposed research involving human participants. Commensurate protections are in place for all other human subject research conducted at or under the jurisdiction of UCI.

Food and Drug Administration (FDA)

  • 21 CFR Part 50 Human Subjects Protections (Informed Consent) and Additional Safeguards for Children in Clinical Investigations
    This part describes the informed consent requirements that apply to all clinical investigations regulated by the FDA under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, as well as clinical investigations that support applications for research or marketing permits for products regulated by the Food and Drug Administration, including drugs for human use, medical devices for human use, biological products for human use, and electronic products.
  • 21 CFR Part 56 Institutional Review Boards
    This part contains the general standards for the composition operation, and responsibility of an Institutional Review Board (IRB) that reviews clinical investigations regulated by the Food and Drug Administration, as well as clinical investigations that support applications for research or marketing permits for products regulated by the Food and Drug Administration including drugs for human use, medical devices for human use, biological products for human use, and electronic products.
  • 21 CFR Part 312 Investigational New Drug Application
    This part contains procedures and requirements governing the use of investigational new drugs, including procedures and requirements for the submission to, and review by, the FDA of investigational new drug applications (INDs). An IND exempts an investigational drug from the premarketing approval requirements that are otherwise applicable and allows lawful shipment for the purpose of conducting clinical investigations of that drug.
  • 21 CFR Part 812 Investigational Device Exemptions
    This part provides procedures for the conduct of clinical investigations of devices. An approved investigational device exemption (IDE) permits a device that otherwise would be required to comply with a performance standard or to have premarket approval to be shipped lawfully for the purpose of conducting investigations of that device.

State Statutes

California Legislative Information – search for California legislation regarding research with human subjects.

The following California Statutes apply to human subjects research activities.

CA Health and Safety Code

  • Protection of Human Subjects in Medical Experimentation Act (Sections 24170–24179.5): Describes the informed consent process and requires that the "experimental subject's bill of rights" be provided to all research subjects in medical experiments. This chapter also describes the hierarchy of surrogate decision makers who are able to provide informed consent for individuals that are unable to consent in emergency room and non-emergency room environments.
  • Human Cloning (Sections 24185-24187): No person shall clone a human being or engage in human reproductive cloning; no person shall purchase or sell an ovum, zygote, embryo, or fetus for the purpose of cloning a human being.
  • Use of State Death Data Records (Sections 102231–102232): IRB review is required for research using California-produced death data files containing personal identifying information (i.e., state issued death certificates and indices.)
  • Experimental Use of Drugs and Consent for Minors Provision (Sections 111515–111545): Minor consent is required prior to administering an experimental drug. Parental or legal guardian consent (permission) is required and minor consent (assent) is required for children 7 years of age or older.
  • Use of Opioid, Stimulant and Hallucinogenic Drugs in Research (Sections 11480-11481): Proposed research projects involving certain opioid, stimulant, and hallucinogenic drugs classified as Schedule I and Schedule II Controlled Substances, are to be reviewed and authorized by the Research Advisory Panel of California in the Attorney General’s Office.
  • Communicable Disease Prevention and Control Act (Sections 120500-120605): Healthcare providers who diagnose or treat patients for venereal diseases (i.e., syphilis, gonorrhea, chancroid, lymphopathia venereum, granuloma inguinale, and chlamydia) must report such cases to the CA Department of Health Services.
  • Confidentiality of Research Records involving AIDS Patients (Sections 120975–121023): Identifiable research records involving AIDS patients are confidential and may not be disclosed, except as provided in this statute.
  • Abortions and Use of Fetal Material (Sections 123420-123450): Except in a medical emergency requiring immediate medical action, no abortion shall be performed upon a minor unless she first has given her written consent (assent) to the abortion and also has obtained the written consent (permission) of one of her parents or legal guardian.
  • Embryos for Research (Sections 124320-125300): A physician and surgeon or other health care provider delivering fertility treatment shall provide his or her patient with timely, relevant, and appropriate information to allow the individual to make an informed and voluntary choice regarding the disposition of any human embryos remaining following the fertility treatment; covers consent requirements for donation of embryos for research.
  • Confidentiality of Records involving Hereditary Disorders (Section 124980): All testing results and personal information from hereditary disorders programs obtained from any individual, or from specimens from any individual, shall be held confidential and be considered a confidential medical record except for information that the individual, parent, or guardian consents to be released. Data compiled for research purposes without reference to the identity of any individual requires IRB review and approval with a waiver of consent.
  • Assisted Oocyte Production (Sections 125330-125355): Prior to obtaining informed consent from a subject for assisted oocyte production or any alternative method of ovarian retrieval on a subject for the purpose of procuring oocytes for research or the development of medical therapies, a physician and surgeon shall provide to the subject a standardized medically accurate written summary of health and consumer issues associated with AOP and any alternative methods of oocyte retrieval.

CA Civil Code

  • Committee for the Protection of Human Subjects of the California Health and Human Services Agency (CHHSA) and California Information Practices Act, Civil Code, Section 1798.24 (SB 13): For identifiable UC data sent to Data Repositories under California Civil Code 1798.24, the Lead Researcher is responsible for complying with all applicable federal and state laws regarding the confidentiality of information (such as the California Information Practices Act).
    • Research funded by CHHSA or any of its departments must be sent to the CHHSA Committee for the Protection of Human Subjects for review. The CPHS serves as the institutional review board (IRB) for the California Health and Human Services Agency.
    • The CHHSA CPHS must also review when identifiable data held by the University of California (UC) will be released or when identifiable data will be received from another state agency. Unless subjects have provided informed consent no more than 30 days before the disclosure, or in the time limit specified in the informed consent document, or another exception exists as outlined in the law, the release of identifiable information to or by UC requires review by the Committee for the Protection of Human Subjects of the California Health and Human Services Agency.

CA Family Code

CA Welfare and Institution Code

  • Elder Abuse and Dependent Adult Civil Protection Act (Sections 15600-15601; 15610-15610.65; 15630-15632; 15633-15637): Reporting of known or suspected cases of abuse of elders and dependent adults; defines mandatory and non-mandatory reporters.

CA Penal Code

  • Behavioral and Biomedical Research; Prisoners’ Rights as Research Subjects (Sections 3500; 3501-3509.5; 3515-3520; 3521-3523): Describes provisions and prohibitions for research, and the informed consent requirements for prisoners.
  • Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting Act (Sections 11164-11174.3): Reporting of known or suspected cases of abuse or neglected children; defines mandated reporters.

CA Education Code

  • Parental Consent for Children to Participate in Research (Section 51513): For K-12 students - tests, questionnaires, surveys, or examinations containing any questions about the pupil's or the pupil’s family’s personal beliefs or practices in sex, family life, morality, and religion require written parental consent (permission).

International Research Considerations

  • OHRP Compilation of International Issues
  • ICH Good Clinical Practices (GCP)
    This is a link to the FDA division responsible for overseeing Good Clinical Practice (GCP). GCP is a standard for the design, conduct, performance, monitoring, auditing, recording, analysis, and reporting of clinical trials.
  • International Conference on Harmonisation (ICH)
    This website offers access to all guidance documents produced by ICH.
  • Council For International Organizations of Medical Sciences
    The Council for International Organizations of Medical Sciences (CIOMS) is an international, non–government, non–profit organization established jointly by WHO and UNESCO in 1949.
  • World Medical Association
    The World Medical Association (WMA) is an international organization representing physicians. The organization was created to ensure the independence of physicians, and to work for the highest possible standards of ethical behavior and care by physicians, at all times.
  • International Association of Bioethics
    The International Association of Bioethics aims to be truly international, linking all those working in bioethics and related fields, facilitating mutual contacts, and encouraging the discussion of cross–cultural aspects of bioethics.
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