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Full Access Globalizing Research Ethics: Justice & Biomedical Research in Developing Countries

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Globalizing Research Ethics: Justice & Biomedical Research in Developing Countries

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AbstractA variety of factors are pushing biomedical research (e.g. pharmaceutical drug trials) to be increasingly performed in developing countries by foreign sponsors from wealthier nations. However, research takes on unique ethical dimensions when studies are performed in developing countries. Factors like poverty, imbalance of power, and cultural difference between sponsors/researchers and participants combine to increase possibilities for research abuses. Biomedical research in developing countries must therefore be given informed ethical analysis to ensure that research may be performed without exploiting developing nations. In this article I argue that an ethical framework for research in developing countries should be formulated through the adoption of four important conceptual changes: i) accounting for the vulnerability of subjects, ii) acknowledging contextual factors including social structures, culture, and political climate, iii) challenging ‘reasonable availability’ and other narrow concepts of benefit to research subjects, and iv) forging and utilizing lasting relationships with institutions already established in developing nations.

Affiliations: 1: Michigan State University, Email: alexbneitzke@gmail.com

10.1163/156914912X620798
/content/journals/10.1163/156914912x620798
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1. Eckenwiler L. Tong R. , Anderson G. , Santos A. "“Realizing justice in health research for women: Reflections on democratizing decisionmaking.”" Globalizing feminist bioethics 2001 Boulder, CO Westview Press
2. Farmer P. Pathologies of power: health, human rights, and the new war on the poor 2005 Berkeley, CA University of California Press
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4. Grady C. "“Ethics of international research: What does responsiveness mean?”" Ethics Journal of the American Medical Association 2006 Vol 8 4 235 240
5. Kissell J. Weisstub D. , Díaz Pintos G. "“The ‘vulnerability’ quagmire in international research.”" Autonomy and human rights in health care 2008 Dordrecht, The Netherlands Springer
6. Luna F. Tong R. , Anderson G. , Santos A. "“Globalization, gender, and research.”" Globalizing feminist bioethics 2001 Boulder, CO Westview Press
7. Participants in the 2001 Conference on Ethical Aspects of Research in Developing Countries EARDC "“Moral standards for research in developing countries: From ‘reasonable availability’ to ‘fair benefits.’”" Hastings Center Report 2004 Vol 34 3 17 27 http://dx.doi.org/10.2307/3528416
8. Petryna A. "“Ethical variability: Drug development and globalizing clinical trials.”" American Ethnologist 2005 Vol 32 2 183 197 http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/ae.2005.32.2.183
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/content/journals/10.1163/156914912x620798
2012-01-01
2016-12-04

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