How does the ethical review process work in Turkey and which are the designated ethics committees?
Ethics committees for research involving human beings
The Regulation on Medical Research governs the fundamental principles and responsibilities of ethics committees for research on human beings. According to the regulation, there are two types of ethics committees, the (central) ethics committee and the local ethics committees.
Local ethics committees are established at medical institutions where clinical studies are conducted, and generally in universities. The ethics committee is constituted within the Ministry of Health and its members are appointed by the Ministry.
A two-step control system is in use for research on human beings in Turkey. Proposals for medical research on human beings firstly require approval from the local ethics committee, and subsequently from the central ethics committee.
Only after the approval of the particular ethics committee can researchers make an application to the Ministry. According to Article 5 of the Regulation, the individual or organisation wanting to conduct clinical research for scientific purposes is required to obtain permission by submitting an application to the Ministry of Health through local ethics committees. Only those research protocols that are approved by the Ethics Committee of the Ministry can be put into practice. Thus, the Ministry holds the ultimate decision making power regarding conducting clinical research. However, this decision making power is limited to those research proposals that have already been approved by the ethics committee; the opposite case is not under consideration.