Medical research is becoming increasingly important given the ever-growing burden of diseases and the urgent need to find new and cost-effective ways to improve the health of the people. One of the major objectives of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi is research. Faculty, scientists, and postgraduates students are all engaged in clinical and basic science research.

Research and Ethics: It is of paramount importance to ensure that research is conducted in the best interests of the patients and participants and in a fair, honest, and transparent manner. The major ethical principles that apply to biomedical research are :
  1. Autonomy of the patient/participant
  2. Beneficence of the patient/participant
  3. Justice
  4. Primum non-nocere (avoid maleficence)

Institute Ethics Committee and Institutional Review Board are 2 terms that are used interchangeably.The term, Institute Ethics Committee (IEC) is generally used in India.

The responsibilities of the IEC are to ensure that following:
  1. The research study protocols are sound in design, scientifically justified, and statistically valid.
  2. The research studies are conducted according to the Indian Council of Medical Research and Good Clinical Practice guidelines.
  3. The research study does not compromise rights, safety and benefits of the patients/volunteers/study participants.
  4. The research studies are conducted under the supervision of trained medical/bio-medical persons with required expertise
  5. The research studies include only those patients or participant who have given voluntary and informed consent without any inducement or coercion.

Ethical approval of a research study: Each research proposal must be submitted to the appropriate institute ethics committee for approval. It should be ensured that no research project is started unless Ethics Clearace/approval is obtained and that no retrospective/Post facto Ethics Clearance/Approval can be provided to research projects which were neither submitted nor vetted by the Institute Ethics Committee