Indigenous peoples and the morality of the Human Genome Diversity Project.
In addition to the aim of mapping and sequencing one human's genome, the Human Genome Project also intends to characterise the genetic diversity of the world's peoples. The Human Genome Diversity Project raises political, economic and ethical issues. These intersect clearly when the genomes under study are those of indigenous peoples who are already subject to serious economic, legal and/or social disadvantage and discrimination. The fact that some individuals associated with the project have made dismissive comments about indigenous peoples has confused rather than illuminated the deeper issues involved, as well as causing much antagonism among indigenous peoples. There are more serious ethical issues raised by the project for all geneticists, including those who are sympathetic to the problems of indigenous peoples. With particular attention to the history and attitudes of Australian indigenous peoples, we argue that the Human Genome Diversity Project can only proceed if those who further its objectives simultaneously: respect the cultural beliefs of indigenous peoples; publicly support the efforts of indigenous peoples to achieve respect and equality; express respect by a rigorous understanding of the meaning of equitable negotiation of consent, and ensure that both immediate and long term economic benefits from the research flow back to the groups taking part. (+info)
Ethical considerations in international HIV vaccine trials: summary of a consultative process conducted by the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS).
Research that is initiated, designed or funded by sponsor agencies based in countries with relatively high social and economic development, and conducted in countries that are relatively less developed, gives rise to many important ethical challenges. Although clinical trials of HIV vaccines began ten years ago in the US and Europe, an increasing number of trials are now being conducted or planned in other countries, including several that are considered "developing" countries. Safeguarding the rights and welfare of individuals participating as research subjects in developing countries is a priority. In September, 1997, the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) embarked on a process of international consultation; its purpose was further to define the important ethical issues and to formulate guidance that might facilitate the ethical design and conduct of HIV vaccine trials in international contexts. This paper summarises the major outcomes of the UNAIDS consultative process. (+info)
Can unequal be more fair? A response to Andrew Avins.
In this paper, we respond to Andrew Avins's recent review of methods whose use he advocates in clinical trials, to make them more ethical. He recommends in particular, "unbalanced randomisation". However, we argue that, before such a recommendation can be made, it is important to establish why unequal randomisation might offer ethical advantages over equal randomisation, other things being equal. It is important to make a pragmatic distinction between trials of treatments that are already routinely available and trials of restricted treatments. We conclude that unequal randomisation could, indeed, be an ethical compromise between protecting the interests of participants and those of society. (+info)
Are antipsychotic drugs the right treatment for challenging behaviour in learning disability?: The place of a randomised trial.
People with learning disability sometimes display challenging behaviour. This can be managed by use of antipsychotic medication or behavioural therapy or both. There is no solid evidence, however, that these therapies are safe and effective. A randomised controlled trial of antipsychotic medication has been proposed to deliver such evidence. However, this presents difficult issues in the ethics of research with learning disabled people. In particular, is a trial the most efficient and fairest way to evaluate practice in this area? This paper reviews the clinical situation, gives the rationale for the trial, and analyses the ethical arguments for and against such a trial. (+info)
Ethical considerations for services offering one-to-one guidance for primary care practitioners interested in research.
Initiatives which offer support to primary care practitioners interested in research have become widespread in the UK. There has been little debate, however, about the ethical issues involved in such interactions with practitioners. Established codes of practice and analyses of the institutional and strategic contexts have been used to inform this discussion. The paper concludes with a recommendation that more explicit quasi-contractual relationships should be negotiated between those offering and those seeking help. (+info)
It doesn't cost anything just to ask, does it? The ethics of questionnaire-based research.
Patient-based outcome measures are increasingly important in health care evaluations, often through the use of paper-based questionnaires. The likely impact of questionnaires upon patients is not often considered and therefore, the balance of benefit and harm not fully explored. Harms that might accrue for research staff are even less frequently considered. This paper describes the use of postal questionnaires within a study of breast disease management in primary care. Questionnaire responses are used to describe the nature of discomfort or harms that may occur in such studies. Ethical issues raised by the harms are discussed in relation to the benefits of the study. Practical suggestions for reducing harm to patients are proposed. A secondary consideration, discomfort to the researcher, is also identified and suggestions made to reduce its effect. Finally, the role of research questionnaires as a study intervention is discussed. (+info)
Ethical considerations for research and treatment with runaway and homeless adolescents.
Ethical considerations for working with runaway and homeless youth in research and treatment settings are presented. Issues of parents' and adolescents' consent for research and treatment are discussed, with particular attention given to the lack of explicit guidelines for working with abused and neglected youth. The principles of beneficence and justice are discussed as they apply to intervening with a high-risk, multiproblem population. The authors offer a rationale for allowing adolescents to self-consent to research and treatment. They argue that in many circumstances, requiring parental consent may not be in the youth's best interest and may preclude his or her participation in treatment and research programs. (+info)
Why we should not seek individual informed consent for participation in health services research.
Ethics committees now require that individuals give informed consent to much health services research, in the same way as for clinical research. This is misguided. Existing ethical guidelines do not help us decide how to seek consent in these cases, and have allowed managerial experimentation to remain largely unchecked. Inappropriate requirements for individual consent can institutionalise health inequalities and reduce access to services for vulnerable groups. This undermines the fundamental purpose of the National Health Service (NHS), and ignores our rights and duties as its members, explored here. Alternative forms of community consent should be actively pursued. (+info)