Understanding the perception of patients on research ethics issues related to biobanking is important to enrich ethical discourse and help inform policy.
We examined the views of leukemia patients undergoing treatment in clinics located in the Princess Margaret Hospital in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. An initial written survey was provided to 100 patients (64.1% response rate) followed by a follow-up survey (62.5% response rate) covering the topics of informed consent, withdrawal, anonymity, incidental findings and the return of results, ownership, and trust.
The majority (59.6%) preferred one-time consent, 30.3% desired a tiered consent approach that provides multiple options, and 10.1% preferred re-consent for future research. When asked different questions on re-consent, most (58%) reported that re-consent was a waste of time and money, but 51.7% indicated they would feel respected and involved if asked to re-consent. The majority of patients (62.2%) stated they had a right to withdraw their consent, but many changed their mind in the follow-up survey explaining that they should not have the right to withdraw consent. Nearly all of the patients (98%) desired being informed of incidental health findings and explained that the information was useful. Of these, 67.3% of patients preferred that researchers inform them and their doctors of the results. The majority of patients (62.2%) stated that the research institution owns the samples whereas 19.4% stated that the participants owned their samples. Patients had a great deal of trust in doctors, hospitals and government-funded university researchers, moderate levels of trust for provincial governments and industry-funded university researchers, and low levels of trust towards industry and insurance companies.
Many cancer patients surveyed preferred a one-time consent although others desired some form of control. The majority of participants wanted a continuing right to withdraw consent and nearly all wanted to be informed of incidental findings related to their health. Patients had a great deal of trust in their medical professionals and publically-funded researchers as opposed to profit-based industries and insurance companies.
Biobank; Tissue repository; Cancer patient perspectives; Consent; Withdrawal; Anonymity; Incidental findings; Return of results; Ownership; Trust
In the United Kingdom (UK), advance directives have recently received considerable attention from professional and voluntary organizations as well as medical journals and the media. However, despite such exposure, many doctors remain uncertain of the importance or relevance of advance directives with regard to their own clinical practice. This paper addresses these uncertainties by first explaining what advance directives are and then describing the current legal status of such directives in the UK. Examination of the cases underpinning this status reveals several key elements: competence, information, anticipation, applicability, and freedom from duress. Each is discussed. Although this paper focuses on legal issues, it is important that medical law does not dominate medical ethics. Accordingly, the paper also discusses some important philosophical and sociological considerations that have remained largely unexplored in the medical press. Finally, the paper deals with practical matters, including how the general practitioner might be involved.
The National Blood Policy in India relies heavily on voluntary blood donors, as they are usually assumed to be associated with low levels of transfusion‐transmitted infections (TTIs). In India, it is mandatory to test every unit of blood collected for hepatitis B, hepatitis C, HIV/AIDS, syphilis and malaria. Donors come to the blood bank with altruistic intentions. If donors test positive to any of the five infections, their blood is discarded. Although the blood policy advocates disclosure of TTI status, donors are not, in practice, informed about their results. The onus is on the donor to contact the blood bank. Out of approximately 16 000 donations in the past 2 years, 438 tested positive for TTI, including 107 for HIV. Only 20% of the donors contacted the blood bank; none of them were HIV positive. Disclosure by blood banks of TTI status by telephone or mail has resulted in serious consequences for some donors. Health providers face an ethical dilemma, in the absence of proper mechanisms in place for disclosure of test results, regarding notification to donors who may test positive but remain ignorant of their TTI status. Given the high cost of neglecting to notify infected donors, the authors strongly recommend the use of rapid tests before collecting blood, instead of the current practice, which takes 3 h to obtain results, and disclosure of results directly to the donor by a counsellor, to avoid dropouts and to ensure confidentiality.
The dynamic development of biobanks causes some ethical, social, and legal problems. The most discussed problems are obtaining informed consent, especially for future research, from minors and from deceased people. The aim of this article is to present the current standards held by Polish biobanks concerning obtaining a participant's informed consent in some aspects.
Material and methods
Survey was carried out by anonymous questionnaire among 59 institutions which deal with the collecting and storage of human cells and tissues in the year 2008. Twenty four filled-in copies of the questionnaires were sent back (return=41%).
Almost every institution (92%) obtains written consent, but a third of the surveyed institutions (29%) do not obtain consent for the future use of the samples. The majority of the respondents (83%) support the idea of using biological materials for research purposes of a donor who died if he did not leave any written objection to such practices and 46% of respondents stated that biobanks should obtain the consent from the already mature donor who gave their samples as a child.
The practice and rules for obtaining informed consent for the scientific research require improvement. The possibility to use the human materials in the future, conditions for getting access to the data, the possibility of their withdrawal from the database and using the materials and data after the death of the donor should be clearly determined when the informed consent to collect the material is obtained.
biobanks; research ethics; informed consent; genetic collection; management
Adequate nutrition is a part of medical treatment and is influenced by ethical and legal considerations. Patients, who cannot be sufficiently fed via the gastrointestinal tract, have the fundamental right to receive PN (parenteral nutrition) even so patients who are unable to give their consent. General objectives in nutrition support are to supply adequate nutrition with regards to the prevention of malnutrition and its consequences (increased morbidity and mortality), and thereby promoting improved outcome and/or quality of life for the patient considering always the patient’s needs and wishes. The requests of the patient to renounce PN should be respected where a signed living will is helpful. During the course of a terminal illness the nutrition has to be adapted individually according to the needs and wishes of a patient in the corresponding phase. Capability of consent should be checked in each individual case and for each measure on an individual basis. Consent should only be accepted if the patient is capable of recognizing the nature, meaning and importance of the intervention as well as the consequences of relinquishment of such an intervention, and is capable to make a self-determined decision. If the patient is not capable of consenting, the patient’s living will is the most important document when determining their assumed will and legally binding. Otherwise a guardian appointed by the patient, or the representative appointed by the court (if the patient has made no provisions) can make the decision.
The number of kidneys transplanted to people over age 70, both from living and cadaver donors, has increased steadily in the past two decades in the United States. Live kidney donation, on the rise for all age groups, opens up new dimensions of intergenerational relationship and medical responsibility when the transfer of organs is from younger to older people. There is little public knowledge or discussion of this phenomenon, in which the site of ethical judgment and activism about longevity and mortality is one’s regard for the body of another and the substance of the body itself is ground for moral consideration about how kinship is “done.” The clinic, patient, and patient’s family together shape a bond between biological identity and human worth, a demand for an old age marked by somatic pliability and renewability, and a claim of responsibility that merges the “right to live” and “making live.” Live kidney transplantation joins genetic, reproductive, and pharmacological forms of social participation as one more technique linking ethics to intervention and the understanding of the arc of human life to clinical opportunity and consumption. Significant in this example is the medicocultural scripting of transplant choice that becomes a high-stakes obligation in which the long-term impacts on generational relations cannot be foreseen.
culture of medicine; life extension; intersubjectivity; biopolitics; life itself; kinship and kidney transplant; United States
Because complex organs taken from unequivocally dead people are not suitable for transplantation, human death has been redefined so that it can be certified at some earlier stage in the dying process and thereby make viable organs available without legal problems. Redefinitions based on concepts of "brain death" have underpinned transplant practice for many years although those concepts have never found universal philosophical acceptance. Neither is there consensus about the clinical tests which have been held sufficient to diagnose the irreversible cessation of all brain function – or as much of it as is deemed relevant – while the body remains alive.
For these reasons, the certification of death for transplant purposes on "brain death" grounds is increasingly questioned and there has been pressure to return to its diagnosis on the basis of cardiac arrest and the consequent cessation of blood circulation throughout the body. While superficially a welcome return to the traditional and universally accepted understanding of human death, examination of the protocols using such criteria for the diagnosis of death prior to organ removal reveals a materially different scenario in which the circulatory arrest is not certainly final and purely nominal periods of arrest are required before surgery begins.
Recognizing the probably unresolvable conflict between allowing enough time to pass after truly final circulatory arrest for a safe diagnosis of death and its minimization for the sake of the wanted organs, Verheijde and colleagues follow others in calling for the abandonment of the "dead donor rule" and the enactment of legislation to permit the removal of organs from the dying, without pretence that they are dead before that surgery. While it may be doubted whether such a "paradigm change" in the ethics of organ procurement would be accepted by society, their call for its consideration as a fully and fairly informed basis for organ donation is to be applauded.
The issue of notifying people who have been exposed to blood products that have been associated with Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) has arisen at a time when the Canadian blood system is under intense scrutiny. As a result, the Canadian Red Cross Society issued a recommendation to health care institutions that recipients of CJD-associated blood products be identified, notified and counselled. Although Canadian jurisprudence in the realm of informed consent may support a policy of individual notification, a review of the scientific evidence and the applicable ethical principles arguably favours a policy of a more general public notification. Indeed, situations such as this require a unique approach to the formation of legal and ethical duties, one that effectively integrates all relevant factors. As such, the authors argue that individual notification is currently not justified. Nevertheless, if a system of general notification is implemented (e.g., through a series of public health announcements), it should provide, for people who wish to know, the opportunity to find out whether they were given CJD-associated products.
Medical tourism involves patients’ intentional travel to privately obtain medical care in another country. Empirical evidence regarding health and safety risks facing medical tourists is limited. Consideration of this issue is dominated by speculation and lacks meaningful input from people with specific expertise in patient health and safety. We consulted with patient health and safety experts in the Canadian province of British Columbia to explore their views concerning risks that medical tourists may be exposed to. Herein, we report on the findings, linking them to existing ethical and legal issues associated with medical tourism.
We held a focus group in September 2011 in Vancouver, British Columbia with professionals representing different domains of patient health and safety expertise. The focus group was transcribed verbatim and analysed thematically.
Seven professionals representing the domains of tissue banking, blood safety, health records, organ transplantation, dental care, clinical ethics and infection control participated.
Five dominant health and safety risks for outbound medical tourists were identified by participants: (1) complications; (2) specific concerns regarding organ transplantation; (3) transmission of antibiotic-resistant organisms; (4) (dis)continuity of medical documentation and (5) (un)informed decision-making.
Concern was expressed that medical tourism might have unintended and undesired effects upon patients’ home healthcare systems. The individual choices of medical tourists could have significant public consequences if healthcare facilities in their home countries must expend resources treating postoperative complications. Participants also expressed concern that medical tourists returning home with infections, particularly antibiotic-resistant infections, could place others at risk of exposure to infections that are refractory to standard treatment regimens and thereby pose significant public health risks.
Attention deficit–hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) remains a controversial disorder, despite it now being a well validated clinical diagnosis. Ethical and legal issues are important in determining how doctors should behave in offering a diagnosis or treatment that may generate strong and unpredictable reactions from children, their families, or other agencies. A model for routine ethical practice was proposed, based on three sets of assumptions. Firstly, that ethical practice is consistent with the four principles of beneficence, non‐maleficence, justice, and respect for autonomy. Secondly, ethical concerns lead to legal processes, whose task is to ensure ethical practice. Thirdly, that we are working in the interests of our patients. Current relevant literature was organised in terms of this model, and recommendations for practice derived from it. Though there is no general ethical problem regarding either the routine diagnosis or treatment of ADHD, ethical difficulties surround some special cases, especially when doctors are working in conjunction with other agencies or coping with non‐medical frameworks. Particular care needs to be taken with confidentiality and consent, the limits of which are currently confused. The model worked well with everyday ethical problems, though more difficult cases required careful individual scrutiny.
ADHD; ethics; hyperactivity; hyperkinesis; law
This pro/con debate explores the ethical issues surrounding nonheart-beating organ donation (NHBD), a source of considerable controversy. It is estimated that NHBD can increase the number of organs available for transplant by 25% at a time of great need. However, should NHBD be ethically acceptable? In support of NHBD, it may be acceptable practice if there is a separation of the rationale to withdraw life support/to withhold cardiopulmonary resuscitation from the decision to recover organs, if no conflicts of interest exist, if a waiting time precluding spontaneous return of circulation is included, and if NHBD conforms to a standardized protocol. Against NHBD, there are questions regarding the ambiguity and cultural perspectives of death, regarding whether a separation of rationale between withdrawal and donation is sufficient to preclude conflicts of interest, and regarding whether variable protocols arise that subordinate the patient to the goal of donation. Such concerns suggest NHBD may damage the trust in patient–physician relationships and may adversely affect organ donation rates.
bioethics; critical care; death; nonheart-beating organ donation; organ donation
Background and objectives
Umbilical cord blood (CB) banking and therapeutic use raise several ethical issues: medical indications, legal framework, public versus private biobanks, autologous versus allogeneic use, ownership, commercialisation, quality assurance and many others. Surrogate informed consent is one of the most notable controversial ethical issues. The aim of this study was to analyse and compare informed consent forms for CB collection, storage and use in the 18 accredited biobanks of the Italian Network.
Material and methods
The first part of the article gives a brief overview of the scientific framework, the comparison of allogeneic and autologous use and Italian regulations. In the second part the contents of the consent forms from the 18 Italian biobanks are compared with the “NetCord-FACT International Standards for Cord Blood Collection, Banking, and Release for Administration”.
Most of the Italian consent forms differ significantly from the NetCord-FACT Standards, with regards both to formal and substantial aspects.
Italian forms for CB collection, storage and use need standardisation to meet international criteria.
cord blood; informed consent; biological specimens banks; transplantation
Pertinent ethical and legal issues in the international transaction of donor sperm and eggs are discussed. Firstly, there may be legislative and ethical “contradiction” by the local health authority in permitting import of donor gametes, due to varying policies on donor reimbursement in different countries. This is particularly significant in countries where the underlying principle of gamete donation is altruistic motivation, and where reimbursement is given only for direct “out-of-pocket” expenses i.e. traveling costs. Secondly, there is a lack of clear and coherent internationally-binding legislation and regulatory guidelines overseeing the exchange of donor gametes across international borders. In particular, provisions should be made for donor traceability if gametes are sourced from abroad. Thirdly, in the case of “frozen-egg donation” from abroad, patients must rightfully be informed that current cryopreservation technology is still sub-optimal, and all studies have consistently shown that the chances of conception are always lower with “frozen-eggs” compared to freshly-retrieved eggs. Finally, regulatory safeguards should be put in place to prevent fertility clinics and medical professionals from “re-selling” imported donor gametes at a profit to the patient, since it would be thoroughly unprofessional for them to earn a profit simply through the ‘brokerage’ of donated human material.
Eggs; Ethics; Export; Gametes; Import; Legal; Sperm
The legislation called the Transplantation of Human Organ Act (THO) was passed in India in 1994 to streamline organ donation and transplantation activities. Broadly, the act accepted brain death as a form of death and made the sale of organs a punishable offence. With the acceptance of brain death, it became possible to not only undertake kidney transplantations but also start other solid organ transplants like liver, heart, lungs, and pancreas. Despite the THO legislation, organ commerce and kidney scandals are regularly reported in the Indian media. In most instances, the implementation of the law has been flawed and more often than once its provisions have been abused. Parallel to the living related and unrelated donation program, the deceased donation program has slowly evolved in a few states. In approximately one-third of all liver transplants, the organs have come from the deceased donor program as have all the hearts and pancreas transplants. In these states, a few hospitals along with committed NGOs have kept the momentum of the deceased donor program. The MOHAN Foundation (NGO based in Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh) has facilitated 400 of the 1,300 deceased organ transplants performed in the country over the last 14 years. To overcome organ shortage, developed countries are re-looking at the ethics of unrelated programs and there seems to be a move towards making this an acceptable legal alternative. The supply of deceased donors in these countries has peaked and there has been no further increase over the last few years. India is currently having a deceased donation rate of 0.05 to 0.08 per million population. We need to find a solution on how we can utilize the potentially large pool of trauma-related brain deaths for organ donation. This year in the state of Tamil Nadu, the Government has passed seven special orders. These orders are expected to streamline the activity of deceased donors and help increase their numbers. Recently, on July 30, 2008, the Government brought in a few new amendments as a Gazette with the purpose of putting a stop to organ commerce. The ethics of commerce in organ donation and transplant tourism has been widely criticized by international bodies. The legal and ethical principles that we follow universally with organ donation and transplantation are also important for the future as these may be used to resolve our conflicts related to emerging sciences such as cloning, tissue engineering, and stem cells.
Cadaver transplantation; ethics in transplantation; related donor
The amount of research utilizing health information has increased dramatically over the last ten years. Many institutions have extensive biobank holdings collected over a number of years for clinical and teaching purposes, but are uncertain as to the proper circumstances in which to permit research uses of these samples. Research Ethics Boards (REBs) in Canada and elsewhere in the world are grappling with these issues, but lack clear guidance regarding their role in the creation of and access to registries and biobanks.
Chairs of 34 REBS and/or REB Administrators affiliated with Faculties of Medicine in Canadian universities were interviewed. Interviews consisted of structured questions dealing with diabetes-related scenarios, with open-ended responses and probing for rationales. The two scenarios involved the development of a diabetes registry using clinical encounter data across several physicians' practices, and the addition of biological samples to the registry to create a biobank.
There was a wide range of responses given for the questions raised in the scenarios, indicating a lack of clarity about the role of REBs in registries and biobanks. With respect to the creation of a registry, a minority of sites felt that consent was not required for the information to be entered into the registry. Whether patient consent was required for information to be entered into the registry and the duration for which the consent would be operative differed across sites. With respect to the creation of a biobank linked to the registry, a majority of sites viewed biobank information as qualitatively different from other types of personal health information. All respondents agreed that patient consent was needed for blood samples to be placed in the biobank but the duration of consent again varied.
Participants were more attuned to issues surrounding biobanks as compared to registries and demonstrated a higher level of concern regarding biobanks. As registries and biobanks expand, there is a need for critical analysis of suitable roles for REBs and subsequent guidance on these topics. The authors conclude by recommending REB participation in the creation of registries and biobanks and the eventual drafting of comprehensive legislation.
Background to the debate: Umbilical cord blood—the blood that remains in the placenta after birth—can be collected and stored frozen for years. A well-accepted use of cord blood is as an alternative to bone marrow as a source of hematopoietic stem cells for allogeneic transplantation to siblings or to unrelated recipients; women can donate cord blood for unrelated recipients to public banks. However, private banks are now open that offer expectant parents the option to pay a fee for the chance to store cord blood for possible future use by that same child (autologous transplantation.)
Private banks offer expectant parents the option to pay a fee for the chance to store cord blood for possible future use by the child. The practice is controversial, for scientific and ethical reasons
Clinical trials involving children previously considered unethical are now considered essential because of the inherent physiological differences between children and adults. An integral part of research ethics is the informed consent, which for children is obtained by proxy from a consenting parent or guardian. The informed consent process is governed by international ethical codes that are interpreted in accordance with local laws and procedures raising the importance of contextualizing their implementation.
In Zimbabwe the parental informed consent document for children participating in clinical research is modeled along western laws of ethics and requires that the parent or legally authorized representative provide consent on behalf of a minor. This article highlights the experiences and lessons learnt by Zimbabwean researchers in obtaining informed consent from guardians of orphaned children participating in a collaborative HIV clinical trial involving the Medical Research Council, United Kingdom and four centers, three of which are in Uganda. Researchers were faced with a situation where caregivers of orphaned children were not permitted to provide informed consent for trial participation. The situation contrasted with general clinical practice where consent for procedures on orphans is obtained from their caregivers who are not legal guardians.
The challenges faced in obtaining informed consent for orphans in this clinical trial underscores the need for the Zimbabwe ethics committee to develop an ethical and legal framework for pediatric research that is based on international guidelines while taking into account the cultural context. The Medical Research Council of Zimbabwe has since started the process that is expected to involve critical stakeholders namely the community including children, ethicists, the legal fraternity and researchers.
Biobank research has been the focus of great interest of scholars and regulatory bodies who have addressed different ethical issues. On the basis of a review of the literature it may be concluded that, regarding some major themes in this discussion, a consensus seems to emerge on the international scene after the regular exchange of arguments in scientific journals. Broad or general consent is emerging as the generally preferred solution for biobank studies and straightforward instructions for coding will optimise privacy while facilitating research that may result in new methods for the prevention of disease and for medical treatment. The difficult question regarding the return of information to research subjects is the focus of the current research, but a helpful analysis of some of the issues at stake and concrete recommendations have recently been suggested.
informed consent; privacy; incidental findings; public trust; ethics; biobanks
The legal requirements and justifications for collecting patient‐identifiable data without patient consent were examined. The impetus for this arose from legal and ethical issues raised during the development of a population‐based disease register. Numerous commentaries and case studies have been discussing the impact of the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA1998) and Caldicott principles of good practice on the uses of personal data. But uncertainty still remains about the legal requirements for processing patient‐identifiable data without patient consent for research purposes. This is largely owing to ignorance, or misunderstandings of the implications of the common law duty of confidentiality and section 60 of the Health and Social Care Act 2001. The common law duty of confidentiality states that patient‐identifiable data should not be provided to third parties, regardless of compliance with the DPA1998. It is an obligation derived from case law, and is open to interpretation. Compliance with section 60 ensures that collection of patient‐identifiable data without patient consent is lawful despite the duty of confidentiality. Fears regarding the duty of confidentiality have resulted in a common misconception that section 60 must be complied with. Although this is not the case, section 60 support does provide the most secure basis in law for collecting such data. Using our own experience in developing a disease register as a backdrop, this article will clarify the procedures, risks and potential costs of applying for section 60 support.
Even though we are now well into the 21st century and notwithstanding all the abuse to individuals involved in clinical studies that has been documented throughout History, fundamental ethical principles continue to be violated in one way or another.
Here are some of the main factors that contribute to the abuse of subjects participating in clinical trials: paternalism, improper use of informed consent, lack of strict ethical supervision, pressure exerted by health institutions to increase the production of scientific material, and the absence of legislation regarding ethics in terms of health care and research. Are researchers ready to respect fundamental ethical principles in light of the ample window of information provided by individual genomes, while defending the rights of the subjects participating in clinical studies as a major priority?
As one of the possible solutions to this problem, education regarding fundamental ethical principles is suggested for participants in research studies as an initial method of cognitive training in ethics, together with the promotion of ethical behavior in order to encourage the adoption of reasonable policies in the field of values, attitudes and behavior.
Informed consent; Autonomy; Genomics; Ethical; Justice; Nonmaleficence; Beneficence
An interactive videodisc (using a single screen Macintosh II, HyperCard driven, Level III, CAV interactive videodisc) has been designed, produced, and pretested to permit patients with benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), facing a choice of surgery or watchful waiting, to take an active role in decision-making. The Informed Patient Decision-Making Procedure (IPDP) educates the patient about the benefits and harms of two treatment choices: prostatectomy and watchful waiting for BPH, by presenting patient-specific data derived from an analysis of medical outcomes. and video testimonials from patients with good and unfortunate outcomes of the therapeutic options. The IPDP standardizes the information provided to the patients, provides informed consent, gathers follow-up outcomes research data, and permits automated assessment of patient preferences and utilities. In this demonstration, the development of the IPDP is discussed, the videodisc program is presented, and lessons learned in creating medical videodiscs are shared.
Three recent Canadian legal cases have dealt with the proposed blood transfusion of adolescent members of Jehovah’s Witness (JW) families. In each case, the court permitted transfusions if medically necessary. Much critical analysis of the issue of forced treatment of decisionally competent adolescents focuses exclusively on competence and questions why mature minors may not decide for themselves. The authors argue that a focus on decision-making competence alone is too narrow. Before one may legally give or refuse consent to medical treatment, three conditions must be met: competence, adequate information and lack of coercion. In striving to find agreement on medical treatment, physicians, patients and JW family members seek and, in fact, often achieve mutual understanding and cooperation. Coercion by actual or threatened shunning and excommunication can occur, and these factors may affect adolescent decision-making. In this context, a court order authorizing medical treatment can, therefore, be seen as enhancing patient freedom. The authors suggest that, in addition to fulfilling existing statutory duties to report a child in need of protection, health care professionals caring for acute patients of JW families should actively look for evidence that the patient has accurate medical information and is acting without coercion. The authors also explore suggestions on how to deal with the unusual complexities of such cases.
Blood; Children; Emergency; Ethical issues; Jehovah’s Witness; Management
Prenatal/preconceptional and newborn screening programs have been a focus of recent policy debates that have included attention to ethical, legal, and social issues (ELSIs). In parallel, there has been an ongoing discussion about whether and how ELSIs may be addressed in health technology assessment (HTA). We conducted a knowledge synthesis study to explore both guidance and current practice regarding the consideration of ELSIs in HTA for prenatal/preconceptional and newborn screening. As the concluding activity for this project, we held a Canadian workshop to discuss the issues with a diverse group of stakeholders. Based on key workshop themes integrated with our study results, we suggest that population-based genetic screening programs may present particular types of ELSIs and that a public health ethics perspective is potentially highly relevant when considering them. We also suggest that approaches to addressing ELSIs in HTA for prenatal/preconceptional and newborn screening may need to be flexible enough to respond to diversity in HTA organizations, cultural values, stakeholder communities, and contextual factors. Finally, we highlight a need for transparency in the way that HTA producers move from evidence to conclusions and the ways in which screening policy decisions are made.
Ethical, legal, and social issues (ELSIs); Genetic screening; Health technology assessment; Neonatal screening; Prenatal screening; Public health ethics
This paper presents the results of an exploratory qualitative study that assesses Canadian pediatric researchers’ perceptions of a pre-selected group of ethical issues raised by pharmacogenomics research with children.
As a pilot study, we conducted semi-structured telephone interviews with Canadian pediatric pharmacogenomic researchers. The interviews were guided by the following themes: (1) benefits and risks of inclusion, (2) the consent/assent process, and (3) the return of research results.
Issues about assent, consent, risks and benefits, as well as the communication of results were addressed by the respondents. Some issues, such as the unique vulnerability of children, the long term privacy concerns associated with biobanking, additional core elements that need to be discussed and included in the consent/assent forms, as well as the challenges of communicating research results in a pediatric research were not explicitly identified by the respondents.
Further consideration should be given to address the ethical challenges of including children in pharmacogenomics research. This exploratory study indicates that further guidance is needed if children are to be protected and yet benefit from such research.
Ethical; Health professionals; Pediatric; Perceptions; Pharmacogenomics; Research; Social
Rapid growth and expansion of plastic surgery in general and aesthetic surgery in particular in the past decade has brought in its wake some confusions particularly raising questions for the surgeons conduct towards his colleagues and the patients in the light of ethical requirements. Some thoughts from eminent thinkers form a backdrop to consideration of theories of medical ethics. In this article raging and continuous debates on these subjects have been avoided to maintain the momentum. Apart from the western thoughts, directions from our old scriptures on ethical conduct have been included to accommodate prevelant Indian practices. The confusion created by specialists advertising their abilities directly to the lay public following removal of ethical bars by the American Courts as also latitudes allowed by the General Medical Council of Great Britain have been discussed. The medical fraternity however has its reservations. Unnecessary skirmishes with the law arose in cosmetic surgery from the freedom exercised by the police to file criminal proceedings against attending doctors in the event of a patient's death with or without any evidence of wrong doing. This has now been curtailed in the judgement of the Supreme Court of India where norms have been laid down for such prosecution. This has helped doctors to function without fear of harassment. An effort has been made to state a simple day-to-day routine for an ethical doctor-patient relationship.
Aesthetic surgery; legal; medical ethics