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Australasian Human Research Ethics Consultancy Services Pty Ltd (AHRECS)

Drug trial a test of ethics – The Australian (Paul Cleary 2015)0

Posted by Admin in on September 12, 2015

When the Australian Defence Force sent troops to Bougainville and East Timor 15 years ago, medical officers saw an opportunity to test new anti-malarial drugs.

Across three years, about 2500 soldiers were used in trials of drugs that were unapproved or had serious side effects on mental health. Some soldiers say they were used as guinea pigs.

Instead of prescribing the safe and tested doxycycline, medical officers prescribed 1319 troops deployed to Timor with mefloquine (branded by Roche as Lariam) even though research published in medical journals from the late 1980s on have linked it to dangerous side effects, including depression and psychotic behaviour. The consent forms said side effects mainly had been found in children weighing less than 45kg and the drug was safer than doxycycline.”

Read this news item.

Mapping Africa Research Ethics Capacity (MARC)0

Posted by Admin in on August 18, 2015

“The MARC project is developing an interactive map of health research ethics review capacity and drug regulatory capacity in Africa. MARC receives financial support from EDCTP and Pfizer to achieve this aim. This ongoing project invites self-uploading of information on African Research Ethics Committees (RECs) and Drug Regulatory Authorities. This information is then integrated into an existing country-based research system mapping structure to facilitate efficiency, sustainability and linkage of ethics ‘maps’ to health research system capacity. This integration allows for ethics capacity analysis in relation to general research system development, encourages comparisons between countries inside and outside Africa, and facilitates sustainability and knowledge sharing throughout the project.”

Is it ethical to use data from Nazi medical experiments? – The Conversation (Lynn Gillam, 2015)0

Posted by Admin in on June 11, 2015

During World War II, Nazi doctors had unfettered access to human beings they could use in medical experiments in any way they chose. In one way, these experiments were just another form of mass torture and murder so our moral judgement of them is clear.

But they also pose an uncomfortable moral challenge: what if some of the medical experiments yielded scientifically sound data that could be put to good use? Would it be justifiable to use that knowledge?

Even without written codes, ethical standards for human research existed before World War II – The Conversation (Alison Bateman-House 2015)0

Posted by Admin in on June 10, 2015

In his history of the Tuskegee syphilis study (formally known as the US Public Health Service Study of Untreated Syphilis in the Negro Male), historian James H Jones wrote:

[T]here was no system of normative ethics on human experimentation during the 1930s that compelled medical researchers to temper their scientific curiosity with respect for the patient’s rights.

The American Medical Association’s code of ethics did not address research on humans until 1946. The Nuremberg Code, often considered the foundational document of research ethics, dates from the 1947 verdict in the Doctors Trial – the military tribunal for German physicians on their participation in war crimes.

Read the rest of this discussion piece