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Caution over study subject protections advised

The public comment period for the Department of Health and Human Services’ proposed rule to increase protections of human study subjects has been extended until 26 October, and the Association of American University Professors (AAUP) is advising the department to use caution in implementing the final rule.

AAUP notes that the federal government is considering major changes to the regulations governing the institutional review boards (IRBs) at universities charged with protecting the rights and welfare of participants in biomedical and behavioural research, for the first time since 1981. The group has long been concerned that human subjects research protections could interfere with academic freedom.

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