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Table 4 Features related to quality of research ethics committee (REC) work, Finland compared to England, Canada (Ontario), and the USA, around 2010

From: Research ethics committees in the regulation of clinical research: comparison of Finland to England, Canada, and the United States

  Finland England Canada USA
REC control body oversight Strong Distant
Formal quality assurance No Control body Accreditation planned Control body, voluntary accreditation
Inspection of RECs No Control body, rarely by drug authority Rarely by drug authority Control body and drug authority
REC dismissal Not in practice Yes by central REC Not in practice In theory by central REC
Researchers’ choice of REC No Yes No Varieda
REC decision Statement Approval Approval Approval
Appeal possibilities Limited Yes, clear system Yes In theory
Independence from research site Semi-independent Yes No Varied
Accountable to Hospital districtb Control body Hospital boardc Institution/None
Transparency Low High Low, recognized Low
Obligatory education of members No Yes No No
Variability of decisions Not discussed Action taken Identified problem Identified problem
Dealing with exceptions     
Informed consent exemptions in trials Not Yes Yes Yes
Emergency drug trials Not possible Possible Possible Possible
Handling of quality assurance research Ambiguity Problem identified Varied, problem identified Varied, problem identified
  1. aNot in established academic research centres, elsewhere possible.
  2. bSince 2010, before then accountability unclear.
  3. cHospital boards consisting of outside members.