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Indian J Med Res. 2018 Sep;148(3):279-283. doi: 10.4103/0971-5916.245303.

National ethical guidelines for biomedical & health research involving human participants, 2017: A commentary.

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ICMR Bioethics Unit, ICMR-National Centre for Disease Informatics and Research, Bengaluru, India.
Former Director General, Indian Council of Medical Research & Secretary, Department of Health Research, New Delhi, India; Deputy Director General of Programmes, World Health Organization, Geneva, Switzerland.


The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has been at the forefront in setting up the ethical guidance for the conduct of biomedical and health research in India. The latest version of National Guidelines for Biomedical and Health Research Involving Human Participants, 2017 was planned in order to provide a more detailed guidance to the existing topics in view of emerging ethical concerns and to add a number of newer areas in which guidance was lacking. The scope of the guidelines has been expanded to include socio-behavioural research related to health and research involving biological material and datasets. The guidelines have 12 sections which cover a wide range of topics and areas of research. The first six sections are more generic, applying to all types of biomedical and health research, while the next six sections are more subject specific. The guidelines have been revised in consultation with a large number of experts and stakeholders and went through an exhaustive process stretching over a period of two years in its drafting, review, consultation and finalisation. This commentary seeks to explain the process and key components of the Guidelines.

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