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Ned Tijdschr Geneeskd. 2014;158:A7227; discussion A7227.

['Best proven care' not always the best control].

[Article in Dutch]

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  • 1Universitair Medisch Centrum Utrecht, Julius Centrum voor Gezondheidswetenschappen en Eerstelijns Geneeskunde, afd. Medical Humanities, Utrecht.


Willems et al. have recently argued in the Dutch Journal of Medicine that Research Ethics Committees should follow the Declaration of Helsinki in its 2000 version since they believe that this version guarantees better protection for control groups in clinical trials than the 2008 version (and currently its 2013 version). They fear that the sections on placebo-controlled trials in the recent versions allow non-innovative research. We show that the Declaration of Helsinki does not allow research that has no social value. Moreover, we show that the 2000 version is internationally contested. We agree with the authors that the Declaration of Helsinki inadequately protects control groups, but for other reasons. We think that the Council for International Organizations of Medical Sciences (CIOMS) guidelines offer better protection since they require that control groups cannot be withheld an established effective intervention for the condition under study. Unlike the Declaration of Helsinki, the CIOMS guidelines claim that control groups have a right to more than the best proven intervention.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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