Informed Consent Under the European Convention on Biomedicine and the UNESCO Declaration on Bioethics
Salako, Solomon E
Medicine and law 2011 Mar; 30(1): 101-13
The desirability of obtaining freely given consent is universally accepted. The point, however, is that there is no unanimity on the definition of informed consent or its application in bioethics. Whether informed consent is based on principalism or casuistry or the virtue theory, the problem is how to handle the ethically complex situation created in the interface between informed consent and social justice under international biomedical instruments. This article will proceed by offering detailed historical and critical analyses of informed consent under the European Convention on Human Rights and Biomedicine 1997 and The UNESCO Universal Declaration on Bioethics and Human Rights 2005. Three conceptions of justice will be utilised to show that the doctrine of informed consent has driven the ethos of research on human beings and shaped the physician-patient relationship; and that casuistry and virtue theory are consistent with and not rivals of a principle-based account of informed consent.
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