Ethical issues in research

Raul Artal, Sheldon Rubenfeld

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

Biomedical research is currently guided by ethical standards that have evolved over many centuries. Historical and political events, social and legal considerations, and continuous medical and technological advances have led to the prevailing research ethics and practice. Currently, patients and research subjects have complete autonomy while under medical care or when volunteering as research subjects. Enrolling volunteers in human subjects research includes a detailed and meaningful informed consent process that follows the cardinal principles of ethics: autonomy, beneficence, nonmaleficence, and justice. These principles were gradually adopted after World War II, primarily in response to the unethical behavior of German physicians and scientists during the Third Reich. This review emphasizes the importance of historical milestones and the essential role that ethics has in contemporary medical research. Research protocols should achieve maximum benefits for the society, have clinical and scientific value, be subject to independent review, respect human dignity, and follow the principles of informed consent, and most importantly, subjects should have complete autonomy. However, current principles and regulations cannot cover every conceivable situation, particularly in view of the new advances in science and technology. New and evolving medical technology, genetic research, therapeutic interventions, and innovations challenge society to maintain the highest moral and ethical principles.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)107-114
Number of pages8
JournalBest Practice and Research: Clinical Obstetrics and Gynaecology
Volume43
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 1 2017

Keywords

  • eugenics
  • informed consent
  • Nazi medicine
  • research ethics principles
  • the fetus as a patient
  • women subjects in research

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology

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