Cece wrote:and they still don't get paid for being on IRB, other than their salary for being university-hospital-employed in the first place?
That would probably depend on their salary arrangements with the hospital. But the IRB does charge a fee for its work (how they charge for a study or trial internal to the hospital would depend, I guess, on the hospital and the relationships among departments). In any event, the charter of the IRB is supposedly to look after patient safety, and secondarily the interests of the hospital. The legal protection of the hospital and its reputation would depend on patient safety.
This applies for hospital IRBs. I was told, in the case of an individual doctor's office that wants to participate in a clinical trial, independent IRB services exist that the doctor can hire. The IRB's motivation in this case would seem to be a little murky, but ethics should still apply.
Here is another example of a hospital IRB (which came under some scrutiny a few years ago):
http://irb.jhmi.edu/GeneralInformation/ ... rship.html
EDITED TO ADD:
Cece, it looks like you aren't entirely incorrect. In the case of the Hopkins IRBs, at least, one member is a non-healthcare person from the community (not necessarily working for the hospital). I've asked someone the rationale behind this, and how such a person is selected.