Pragmatic clinical trials and the consent process

Research Ethics 14 (2):1-14 (2018)
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Abstract

Pragmatic clinical trials are a relatively new methodological approach to the execution of clinical research that can increase research efficiency and provide access to unique data. Some have suggested that the costs and delays associated with obtaining informed consent could make PCTs difficult or even impossible to execute. Alternative consent models have been proposed, some of which lower standards of disclosure, delay consent, or waive it altogether. We analyze the permissibility of changes to informed consent in the context of Canadian research ethics policies, legislation, common law, professional codes of ethics, and professional standards of practice. We find that Canadian law and policy relating to informed consent clearly applies to any clinician who might be involved in a PCT. In addition, existing consent norms seem unable to accommodate alternative consent models for pragmatic research if such models would involve lowering the standard of disclosure. The strong emphasis on the primacy...

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