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.
Code of Medical Ethics Opinions: Physician involvement in research
- Physician involvement in research: Opinion E-7.1.1
- Informed consent in research: Opinion E-7.1.2
- Study design & sampling: Opinion E-7.1.3
- Conflicts of interest in research: Opinion E-7.1.4
- Misconduct in research: Opinion E-7.1.5
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.
Code of Medical Ethics Opinions: Disseminating research results
- Principles for disseminating research results: Opinion E-7.2.1
- Release of data from unethical experiments: Opinion E-7.2.2
- Patents & dissemination of research products: Opinion E-7.2.3
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.
Code of Medical Ethics Opinions: Special issues in research
- Ethical use of placebo controls in research: Opinion E-7.3.1
- Research on emergency medical interventions: Opinion E-7.3.2
- International research: Opinion E-7.3.3
- Maternal-fetal research: Opinion E-7.3.4
- Research using human fetal tissue: Opinion E-7.3.5
- Research in gene therapy & genetic engineering: Opinion E-7.3.6
- Safeguards in the use of DNA databanks: Opinion E-7.3.7
- Research with stem cells: Opinion E-7.3.8
- Commercial use of human biological materials: Opinion E-7.3.9
- Expanded access to investigational therapies: Opinion E-7.3.10
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.