Union Research and the Ethics Advisory Group
The Ethics Advisory Group (EAG) was established to provide ethical guidance on The Union's work at national and international levels. Its role is to safeguard the dignity and rights of study participants and to promote ethical standards in lung health services.
The EAG reviews every protocol in which a Union staff member or consultant is the principal researcher, likely to be a co-author, or if The Union funds or sponsors the study. Through a formal application process, the EAG evaluates especially the societal value of the study, the methods (poor science is unethical), informed consent forms for studies involving more than record reviews, risks to participants, confidentiality of participant information, local community and researcher/health service involvement and local ethics committee approval.
Studies involving record reviews and existing data must also be reviewed by the EAG. Applications for studies of existing records are reviewed by the Chairperson, other applications by the full committee. If the EAG has concerns or suggestions about ethical issues these are communicated to the applicants. Approval is given when necessary revisions are made.
The number of applications to the EAG has risen significantly over the past few years. This reflects the work generated by the Centre for Operational Research and TREAT TB. Between 2005 and March 2015, 509 applications have been received and processed, with 96 in 2014 alone.