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Code of Medical Ethics: Research & Innovation

Physicians have a duty to protect the rights and safety of research participants, without whom studies to test new therapies could not be carried out.
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Physicians who are involved in clinical research have special responsibilities as investigators to protect the rights, safety and welfare of research participants that include matters of study design, informed consent and selection of participants.

Physician Involvement in Research

Research involving human participants should be conducted in a manner that minimizes risks and avoids unnecessary suffering. Participants must be able to make informed decisions about whether to participate or continue in a given protocol.

Disseminating Research Results

Physicians have obligations as scientists, which include disseminating research findings. Prompt presentation to scientific peers and publication of research findings are the foundation of good medical care.

Special Issues in Research

To ensure that the interests of human participants are protected, physician-researchers and those who serve on oversight bodies should give careful attention to issues of methodological rigor, informed consent, characteristics of the medical condition under study, as well as safety and monitoring.

AMA Code of Medical Ethics

Visit the Code of Medical Ethics page to access additional Opinions, the Principles of Medical Ethics and a list of CME courses that are available.

These Opinions are offered as ethics guidance for physicians and are not intended to establish standards of clinical practice or rules of law.

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