Identification, disclosure and management of conflict of interest in biomedical and health research are major concerns in India. These conflicts may be financial or non-financial and can be at the level of researchers, EC members, institutions, donor agencies/ sponsors, authors, editors and even regulators. At each level, an underlying COI could potentially influence professional decisions and research outcomes. In this regard, ICMR proposes to develop a National policy document for identification and management of COI in consultation with experts to protect the integrity of professional judgment and to preserve public trust in the best interests of science and the research participants across the country. A consultation meeting was organized by ICMR Bioethics Unit on 12th February 2019 and was attended by various stakeholders including institutional heads, policy makers, clinicians, patient representatives, social scientists, representatives from funding agencies and industry along with others.
In continuation to the release ‘Definitions of terms used in limitation of treatment and providing palliative care at end of life’, ICMR Bioethics Unit took up the initiative to develop a format for Advance Health Care directive document. A consultation meeting with experts were organized to finalize the format of Advance Health Care Directives and guidance for Withdrawal and Withholding of Life Support in Terminal Illness. The expert group has drafted two sets of documents namely.
1. Advance Medical Directives
2. Withdrawal and Withholding of Life Support in Terminal Illness
ICMR Bioethics Unit organized a consultation meeting with experts and relevant stakeholders to discuss issues related to Reuse of Cardiovascular Catheters. The group discussed issues related to safety and scientific concerns, sterilization process, quality of product, reprocessing procedures, cost implications, ethical and legal issues related to reuse of cardiovascular catheters.
To streamline the review processes of ethics committee submissions and improve coordination in multicentre research, an expert consultation was organized to develop a guidance document and Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) for common ethics review of multicentre research to improve EC coordination between various ECs, quality and credibility of the research conducted.
ICMR-Bioethics Unit, NCDIR, Bengaluru organized a symposium to discuss the Draft New Drugs and Clinical Trial Rules 2018 at NCDIR, Bangalore on 12th March, 2018. The consultation meeting was attended by stakeholders from government agencies, universities, research institutes, non- governmental organizations, private practitioners, legal experts, basic scientists, social scientists and others.