The Standard of Care Debate: Against the Myth of an "International Consensus Opinion"
Journal of Medical Ethics 2004 April; 30(2): 194-197
It is argued by Lie et al in the current issue of the Journal of Medical Ethics that an international consensus opinion has formed on the issue of standards of care in clinical trials undertaken in developing countries. This opinion, so they argue, rejects the Declaration of Helsinki's traditional view on this matter. They propose furthermore that the Declaration of Helsinki has lost its moral authority in the controversy in research ethics. Although the latter conclusion is supported by this author, it will be demonstrated in this paper that there is not such a thing as an international consensus opinion, and that the authorities used by Lie et al as evidence in support of their claim should not be relied upon as authorities or final arbiters in this debate. Furthermore, it will be shown that arguments advanced substantively to show that lower standards of care are ethically acceptable in the developing world, conflate scientific with economic reasons, and ultimately fail to bolster the case they are designed to support.
Clinical Trials; Consensus; Developing Countries; Ethics; Medical Ethics; Research; Research Ethics; Standards; Codes of / Position Statements on Professional Ethics; Human Experimentation Policy Guidelines / Institutional Review Boards; International and Political Dimensions of Biology and Medicine;
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