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Australasian Human Research Ethics Consultancy Services Pty Ltd (AHRECS)

Former GP Spurs 20+ Retractions Over Forced Transplants From Chinese Prisoners – Medspace (Diana Swift | October 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on October 29, 2019

In her second career as a bioethicist, a former general practitioner is reshaping the scientific literature of organ transplantation.

From 1983 to 2000, Wendy Rogers, BMBS, practiced primary care medicine in different settings in the United Kingdom and Australia. In the latter country, the single mother of two grew disillusioned with the fee-for-service system, so while she was pondering her future, she decided to change course, leaving practice to take a degree in English literature and philosophy that led to a doctorate in philosophy.

Medicine’s loss was medical ethics’ gain. Now a professor of clinical ethics at Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia, Rogers’ work to draw attention to scientific research that used organ transplants from executed prisoners in China have led to at least 20 retractions, and counting.

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Can dynamic consent facilitate the protection of biomedical big data in biobanking in Malaysia? (Papers: Mohammad Firdaus Abdul Aziz & Aimi Nadia Mohd Yusof | May 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on October 20, 2019

As with many other countries, Malaysia is also developing and promoting biomedical research to increase the understanding of human diseases and possible interventions. To facilitate this development, there is a significant growth of biobanks in the country to ensure continuous collection of biological samples for future research, which contain extremely important personal information and health data of the participants involved. Given the vast amount of samples and data accumulated by biobanks, they can be considered as reservoirs of precious biomedical big data. It is therefore imperative for biobanks to have in place regulatory measures to ensure ethical use of the biomedical big data. Malaysia has yet to introduce specific legislation for the field of biobanking. However, it can be argued that its existing Personal Data Protection Act 2010 (PDPA) has laid down legal principles that can be enforced to protect biomedical big data generated by the biobanks. Consent is a mechanism to enable data subjects to exercise their autonomy by determining how their data can be used and ensure compliance with legal principles. However, there are two main concerns surrounding the current practice of consent in biomedical big data in Malaysia. First, it is uncertain that the current practice would be able to respect the underlying notion of autonomy, and second, it is not in accordance with the legal principles of the PDPA. Scholars have deliberated on different strategies of informed consent, and a more interactive approach has recently been introduced: dynamic consent. It is argued that a dynamic consent approach would be able to address these concerns.

Biobanking, Autonomy, Data protection, Informed consent, Dynamic consent

Abdul Aziz, Mohammad Firdaus, and Aimi Nadia Mohd Yusof. 2019. Can dynamic consent facilitate the protection of biomedical big data in biobanking in Malaysia? Asian Bioethics Review 11 (2) 1-14.

(China) A 10-year follow up of publishing ethics in China: what is new and what is unchanged (Papers: Katrina A. Bramstedt & Jun Xu | September 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on September 13, 2019


Organ donation and transplantation in China are ethically complex due to questionable informed consent and the use of prisoners as donors. Publishing works from China can be problematic. The objective of this study was to perform a 10-year follow up on Chinese journals active in donation and transplant publishing regarding the evolution of their publishing guidelines.

Eleven Chinese journals were analyzed for 7 properties: (1) ethics committee approval; (2) procedure consent; (3) publishing consent; (4) authorship criteria; (5) conflict of interest; (6) duplicate publication; and (7) data integrity. Results were compared with our 2008 study data. Additionally, open access status, impact factor, and MEDLINE-indexing were explored.

Most journals heightened the ethical requirements for publishing, compared to the results of 2008. All 11 now require their published manuscripts to have data integrity. Ten of 11 require ethics committee approval and informed consent for the publication of research studies, whereas in the original study only 2 journals evidenced these requirements. Nine of 11 have criteria for authorship, require conflict of interest disclosure, and forbid duplicate publishing. None of the journals have a policy to exclude data that was obtained from unethical organ donation practices. Nine of 11 journals are MEDLINE-indexed but only 2 are open-access.

Most journals have improved their general ethical publishing requirements but none address unethical organ donation practices.

China; Informed consent; Organ donation; Publishing; Research ethics; Research integrity

Bramstedt, K. and Xu, J. (20019) (China) A 10-year follow up of publishing ethics in China: what is new and what is unchanged. Research Integrity and Peer Review 4(17)
Publisher (Open Access):

Open consent, biobanking and data protection law: can open consent be ‘informed’ under the forthcoming data protection regulation? (Papers: Dara Hallinan & Michael Friedewald | 2015)0

Posted by Admin in on August 22, 2019

This article focuses on whether a certain form of consent used by biobanks – open consent – is compatible with the Proposed Data Protection Regulation. In an open consent procedure, the biobank requests consent once from the data subject for all future research uses of genetic material and data. However, as biobanks process personal data, they must comply with data protection law. Data protection law is currently undergoing reform. The Proposed Data Protection Regulation is the culmination of this reform and, if voted into law, will constitute a new legal framework for biobanking. The Regulation puts strict conditions on consent – in particular relating to information which must be given to the data subject. It seems clear that open consent cannot meet these requirements. 4 categories of information cannot be provided with adequate specificity: purpose, recipient, possible third country transfers, data collected. However, whilst open consent cannot meet the formal requirements laid out by the Regulation, this is not to say that these requirements are substantially undebateable. Two arguments could be put forward suggesting the applicable consent requirements should be rethought. First, from policy documents regarding the drafting process, it seems that the informational requirements in the Regulation are so strict in order to protect the data subject from risks inherent in the use of the consent mechanism in a certain context – exemplified by the online context. There are substantial differences between this context and the biobanking context. Arguably, a consent transaction in the biobanking does not present the same type of risk to the data subject. If the risks are different, then perhaps there are also grounds for a reconsideration of consent requirements? Second, an argument can be made that the legislator drafted the Regulation based on certain assumptions as to the nature of ‘data’. The authors argue that these assumptions are difficult to apply to genetic data and accordingly a different approach to consent might be preferable. Such an approach might be more open consent friendly.

Hallinan, D. and M. Friedewald (2015). “Open consent, biobanking and data protection law: can open consent be ‘informed’ under the forthcoming data protection regulation?” Life Sciences, Society and Policy 11(1): 1.
Publisher (Open Access):