How does the ethical review process work in Finland and which are the designated ethics committees?
According to the Finnish Medical Research Act, all medical research plans must first be approved by an independent ethics committee. An ethical assessment must be carried out for all medical trials. The assessments are principally based on the relevant regulations and other generally accepted ethical principles.
Independent ethics committees must evaluate whether trials have been planned in an ethically acceptable manner so as to not cause unnecessary harm or risks to potential research subjects. Particular emphasis is given to the safety, legal status, and rights of the subjects. An assessment of the scientific rationale, the appropriateness of the information presented to subjects, and the procedure used to seek consent is of particular importance.
Ethics committees are not, however, responsible for granting licences to carry out trials. The committees only issue opinions which the licensing authorities must take into account.
In Finland, statutory ethics committees include the National Committee on Medical Research Ethics (TUKIJA) and regional ethics committees. Each of the hospital districts operating a university hospital must have at least one ethics committee. The Hospital District of Helsinki and Uusimaa, the largest of the Finnish hospital districts, has currently four ethics committees.
Weblinks to Finish Ethics Committees