Learning from low income countries: what are the lessons?: Website highlights ethics issues for research in developing countries

BMJ 2004; 329 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.329.7475.1186-a (Published 11 November 2004) Cite this as: BMJ 2004;329:1186
  1. David Dickson, director (editor{at}scidev.net)
  1. Science and Development Network (SciDev.Net)), London W1D 3TE

    EDITOR—Recent years have seen growing international debate about the ethics of conducting medical research in developing countries. Although many of the issues are similar to those in more developed countries, the limited resources in developing countries can exacerbate the problems. In addition, imbalances in power between the stakeholders—which can include multinational pharmaceutical companies, publicly funded researchers, national governments, and participants—can increase the risk of exploitation.

    Aspects of research that have proved particularly controversial in developing countries include the relevance of the research to participants, standards of care provided to participants, the design and conduct of processes used to obtain consent, the appropriateness of international and national guidance on research ethics, and the care provided to both participants and the wider community once research is over.

    To highlight these issues and how developing countries are tackling them, the Science and Development Network (SciDev.Net) has produced an indepth online dossier on the ethics of medical research specifically for and about developing countries (www.scidev.net/ethics).

    The dossier addresses some of the key issues that face those engaged in funding, designing, reviewing, conducting and participating in medical research in developing countries. It has links to relevant news items, organisations, regulations, reports, and educational resources and is regularly updated. Most authors and contributors are from developing countries, and the articles are reviewed by an internationally renowned advisory panel.


    • Competing interests None declared.