Hieveryone, I just posted a new article in the bookmarks section dealing with ethics of clinical trials in India. There are of course a lot of issues which apply to other LMIC settings as well. Would be interested in knowing if some of the issues I have raised resonate with your experiences too. What can be done to bring about change?
The article is available at http://www.jpharmacol.com/article.asp?issn=0976-500X;year=2012;volume=3;issue=2;spage=95;epage=97;aulast=Bhan
This is a really interesting issue and raises so many complicated questions. We were just talking about this in our office the other day! Our focus was on South East Asia - one of the Ethox DPHil students is examining ethical guidelines governing research ethics committees in South East Asia. She mentioned that complaints have been made about unethical conduct in trials in Malaysia. One of the dilemmas she raised was the fact that research ethics committee members in Malaysia were conflicted about their roles. They were not sure if their main goal was to promote research in Malaysia or to protect human subjects in research. The committee had been established in order to encourage clinical research from abroad, and therefore they tend to 'overlook' potentially unethical conduct. Clinical research is a good source of income for LMICs and so this inherent tension exists. We talked about the difficulty of finding a 'balance'between promoting research and protecting human subjects and the essential tension between them.