One-time general consent for research on biological samples: Autonomy and majority rules have been misunderstood

BMJ 2006; 332 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.332.7542.665-b (Published 16 March 2006) Cite this as: BMJ 2006;332:665
  1. David Hunter, lecturer in bioethics (d.hunter3@ulster.ac.uk)
  1. School of Biomedical Sciences, University of Ulster, Coleraine, Londonderry BT52 1SA

    EDITOR—Wendler suggests that since most (79-95%, depending on the study) people were willing to provide a one-time general consent to further usage of their biological sample we should routinely include a request for the subject to consent to the further indefinite usage of their samples in consent forms and participant information sheets.1

    This misconstrues the nature of autonomy by conflating it with majoritarian democracy. Simply because most people would hypothetically consent to something …

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