Research without consent: Current status, 2003

Research output: Contribution to journalShort surveypeer-review

77 Scopus citations


In November 1996, regulations developed by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) went into effect to allow certain emergency and resuscitation human subjects research to proceed without prospective informed consent. These new regulations brought harmonization to the requirements of the 2 federal agencies charged with research oversight and ended a moratorium that had essentially shut down resuscitation research for almost 4 years. However, the FDA's emergency exception from informed consent and the HHS's waiver of informed consent have been used infrequently. Many perceived obstacles to implementation of the regulations have been described, including the additional regulatory burden for investigators and institutional review boards, the extra expense and time required to adequately fulfill the regulatory requirements, and the reluctance of institutional review boards to allow these studies to move forward because of concerns about potential legal ramifications. Regardless of the arguments advanced, these regulations are essentially the only current regulatory options that have been provided for research without consent. This article presents a brief history of the development of the FDA's Final Rule, a summary of its requirements and its use so far, and suggestions for its implementation. Some strategies to allow the resuscitation research community to suggest fine tuning of the regulations are suggested in hopes that research requiring an exception from informed consent is allowed to proceed in a manner acceptable to regulators, is stringent in patient protection, and yet is sensitive to the practical aspects of performing resuscitation research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)550-564
Number of pages15
JournalAnnals of Emergency Medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1 2003


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