December 3, 2018: FDA Calls for Comments on Proposed Rule to Allow Exceptions to the Requirement for Informed Consent in Minimal-Risk Research

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is proposing a rule to allow for a waiver or alteration of informed consent for clinical investigations posing no more than minimal risk to human participants. This rule would align FDA regulations with the Common Rule, reduce burden and costs for Institutional Review Boards, and be expected to lead to advances in healthcare.

“We expect benefits in the form of healthcare advances from minimal risk clinical investigations and from harmonization of FDA’s informed consent regulations with the Common Rule’s provision for waiver of informed consent for certain minimal risk research.” —  Federal Register /Vol. 83, No. 221

Currently, FDA allows a waiver or alteration of consent only in life-threatening situations. If aligned with the Common Rule, a waiver or alteration would be allowed if the IRB finds and documents that 1) the research involves no more than minimal risk, 2) the rights and welfare of subjects will not be adversely affected, 3) the research could not practicably be carried out without a waiver, and 4) the participants will be provided with additional pertinent information after completion of the trial.

Comments on the proposed rule are due by January 14, 2019.

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