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Current U.S. Rules, Regulations Sufficient To Protect Volunteers In Federally Funded Research, Report Says

report released last week by the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues examining federally sponsored research involving human volunteers, called “Moral Science: Protecting Participants in Human Subjects Research,” said that “current rules and regulations provide adequate safeguards to mitigate risk,” “recommended 14 changes to current practices to better protect research subjects, and called on the federal government to improve its tracking of research programs supported with taxpayer dollars,” according to a Commission press release. “In the report’s central finding, the Commission found that the ‘U.S. system provides substantial protections for the health, rights, and welfare of research subjects,'” the press release states.

“[F]ollowing the October 2010 revelation that the U.S. Public Health Service supported unethical research in Guatemala from 1946 to 1948 that involved intentionally exposing thousands of Guatemalans to sexually transmitted diseases without their consent,” President Obama tasked the Commission with “oversee[ing] a thorough fact-finding investigation into the specifics of the studies (released September 13, 2011),” and “assur[ing] that current rules for research participants protect people from harm or unethical treatment, domestically as well as internationally,” the press release notes (12/15).

Additional coverage of the report was provided by the Los Angeles Times’ “Booster Shots” blog, Nature, SciDev.Net, VOA News, the Washington Post, and Xinhua.

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