DREW UNIVERSITY: Program Shuts Down Research Studies, Violations Abound
The Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science and its affiliate health center, Martin Luther King Jr. Hospital, put a halt to about 250 clinical studies after federal investigators cited more than 24 violations of rules designed to protect research participants. Government officials cited current projects that did not receive approval from the internal review committee and the lack of adequate guidelines for research involving children and prisoners. Inspectors also noted that prospective participants did not receive key information to help them make an informed decision. In addition to losing its credibility, the facility risks losing $32 million in federal research grants if the closure persists. But Drew officials believe that the problems "would be resolved before any financial troubles befall the institution," adding that the system will undergo a complete overhaul. They expect research operations to be fully restored by the end of May. A few studies are expected to begin soon, and about 20 projects will continue despite the controversy, because halting them would endanger the lives of patients. Dr. Tony Strickland, Drew's associate dean of research, pointed out that no patient "has ever had an adverse effect," adding, "Clearly, as an institution that is committed to an underserved population, we hold the protection of human subjects at a highest regard" (Riccardi/Monmaney, Los Angeles Times, 4/27).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.