What is it? Why is it important?
Switzerland has seven Ethics Committees (EC), each one responsible for their respectively assigned cantons.
ECs are independent bodies made up of a group of selected individuals (e.g. clinicians (physicians, nurses), scientists, lawyers, chaplains/ethicists, patient representatives).
The Swiss Association of Research Ethics Committees (named swissethics) makes up the umbrella organisation.
The aim of the EC is to:
- Protect the interest of individuals
- Oversee compliance with applicable ethical standards, regulatory requirements, and guidelines (e.g. ICH GCP, Swiss law)
According to swissethics, studies are only ethically justified when:
- The dignity of study participants is respected
- The study is of high scientific quality and integrity
- All legal frameworks are respected,
- The risk/benefit ratio is and remains favourable during study conduct
In the event of a multi-centre study, swissethics defines a:
- A Lead-EC: assigned based on the canton from where a study application is submitted
- Local-EC: are EC(s) from participating study site(s) located in cantons outside the jurisdiction of the Lead-EC
The lead EC is responsible:
- For the review and approval of the study application dossier (e.g. includes also research project applications)
- For the review and approval of any amendment(s) during study conduct (e.g. including research project changes)
- To ensure that the rights, safety, and well-being of study participants are protected at all times
The Local-EC is responsible:
- To evaluate the qualification and suitability of the study- or research site (e.g. local staff, infrastructure, participant information)
What do I need to do?
Prior to implementation, all human studies and research projects, must initially be approved by the Ethics Committee (e.g. in a multi-centre study several local ECs are usually involved).
- Quality studies or research
- Literature reviews
- Case reports (e.g. documentation of an unusual clinical phenomenon in a single patient)
- Research using health-related data that is
- Collected anonymously
- Research conducted on anonymous human samples
- Opinion polls
As a SP-INV or Site-INV, ensure that the protection of study participants always takes priority over any scientific or financial interest.
Where can I get help?
Your local CTU↧ can support you with experienced staff regarding this topic
Basel, Clinical Trials Unit, CTU, dkf.unibas.ch
Bellinzona, Clinical Trials Unit, CTU-EOC, www.ctueoc.ch
Bern, Clinical Trials Unit, CTU, www.ctu.unibe.ch
Geneva, Clinical Research Center, CRC, crc.hug.ch
Lausanne, Clinical Research Center, CRC, www.chuv.ch
St. Gallen, Clinical Trials Unit, CTU, www.kssg.ch
Zürich, Clinical Trials Center, CTC, www.ctc.usz.ch
Swissethics – see in particular
- BASEC: EC submission portal
- Mission statement of swissethics
- List of Swiss ethics committees
ICH GCP E6(R2) – see in particular articles
- Art. 1.27 EC definition
- Art. 1.31 IRB definition
- Art. 3. IRB / EC
ISO 14155:2020 Medical devices (access liable to coast – see in particular annex
- Annex G EC responsibilities
FEDLEX – laws are available online under numbers
- 810.30 HRA
- 810.308 OrgO-HRA
HRA – see in particular chapters
- Chapter 8 Authorisation, notifications and procedure
- Chapter 9 Research ethics committees
OrgO-HRA – see in particular chapter
- Chapter 1 Research ethics committee