Intended for healthcare professionals


The ethics of international biomedical research

BMJ 2000; 321 doi: (Published 30 September 2000) Cite this as: BMJ 2000;321:777

Needs a commitment to high values in an open discussion with a variety of partners

  1. M A Lansang, professor of clinical epidemiology and medicine. (,
  2. F P Crawley, chairman
  1. University of the Philippines, Ermita, Manila 1000, Philippines
  2. Ethics Working Party, European Forum for Good Clinical Practice, 3010 Kessel-Lo, Belgium

    The combination of the increased burden of AIDS in the developing world and the absence of affordable therapies and vaccines has raised the sensitivity of health professionals to issues of ethics and equity in international biomedical research. Foremost among the concerns is whether new treatments should be compared against Western standards of care or against existing local standards. Other thorny issues include whether communities can benefit from research they have taken part in when they may not be able to afford the new interventions that they have helped prove efficacious1 and how researchers and their institutions in developing countries can be strengthened through international collaboration.2 Strong emotional responses and increased entrenchment have begun to characterise the discussion on how to design and conduct international biomedical research.3

    The importance of these issues for …

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