ACN - 101321555 Australasian Human Research Ethics Consultancy Services Pty Ltd (AHRECS)
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Australasian Human Research Ethics Consultancy Services Pty Ltd (AHRECS)

Friday afternoon’s funny – Consent: Location, location, location0

Posted by Admin in on April 3, 2020

Cartoon by Don Mayne
Full-size image for printing (right mouse click and save file)

Like location is an important consideration (some might say a primary consideration) in real estate, it is fundamental to the ethical design of consent processes.

Flattening the Curve, Then What? – The Hastings Center – Infographic Now Added (Mark A. Rothstein | March 2020)0

Posted by Admin in on March 29, 2020

The metaphor “flattening the curve” has succinctly captured the challenge of responding to the coronavirus pandemic in the United States. With no vaccine or effective treatment, the use of social distancing measures attempts to delay the spread of infection and keep the need for intensive, hospital-based health services within the capacity of our health care system. Unfortunately, too narrow a focus on flattening the curve may obscure larger gaps and deficiencies in our public health system that we have long ignored and must address.

A characteristically articulate and incisive reflection on where to next for COVID-19.

Besides lowering the peak demand for health services, the “flattening” approach includes raising the baseline of available resources, such as coronavirus tests, hospital and ICU beds, ventilators, personal protective equipment, and trained health care workers. In short, we need greater surge capacity. Although a lack of funding for public health infrastructure and personnel is evident, another key reason for a lack of surge capacity is that excess capacity is inconsistent with the business models of for-profit hospitals, bottom-line sensitive nonprofit hospitals, and underfunded public hospitals. Most hospital administrators and executives traditionally have sought to increase utilization rates and eliminate excess capacity, such as empty beds and unused equipment and supplies.

The nationwide pandemic also highlights the fragmentation of our public health system. Unlike most countries, the U.S. has no national public health agency, with public health primarily the responsibility of state and local governments. Many jurisdictions lack the financial means or expertise to respond to a public health emergency, including the ability to manage quarantine or other mandatory social distancing measures. The authority of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is limited to controlling international and interstate health threats, as well as providing research, education, laboratory services, data collection and analysis, consultation, and policy recommendations for the states. A more centralized public health structure, regardless of the merits, would run counter to practices in place since colonial times and reflected in the Constitution’s separation of powers between the federal and state governments.

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Infographic about COVID-19


To access the full-size infographic, right-click this link and select save as
The above infographic is a modified version of a resource from Shutterstock.

Informed consent in international normative texts and biobanking policies: Seeking the boundaries of broad consent (Papers: Palmira Granados Moreno and Yann Joly | 2016)0

Posted by Admin in on March 11, 2020

With the progress in bioinformatics, genomics, and epidemiology, biobanks, as repositories of populations’ biological samples as well as of personal and medical information, are becoming an essential research tool. Despite the potential benefits biobanks may bring and the options presented by some of the current biobanks’ consent policies, there remain ethical concerns regarding the autonomy and dignity of research participants if consent is not fully informed as dictated in the terms of traditional informed consent. This article aims at providing an overview of the approaches taken by the main international norms with respect to informed and broad consent and how well these norms are integrated by biobanks or biobank consortia. We conclude that broad consent could be an important tool to achieve the benefits of large-scale biobanks projects. If it is to be accepted, its regulation and implementation need to be mindful of the participant’s dignity and autonomy and sensitive to the need for international coherence and harmonization.

Broad consent, comparative analysis of informed consent practices in international biobanks, international biobanks, international biobanks informed consent policies, international biobanks informed consent regulations

Moreno, P.G. and Joly, Y (2016) Informed consent in international normative texts and biobanking policies: Seeking the boundaries of broad consent.  Medical Law International.  7(35)

(China & Australia) ANU study says China deliberately falsifying data on organ transplants – The Canberra Times (Kirsten Lawson | November 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on February 21, 2020

New research blows the lid on China’s claim to have stopped using prisoners and groups such as Falun Gong for organ donation, finding that China appears to have systematically falsified its official data.

The Australian National University research, published on Friday, said analysis of the data implied “deliberate human intervention”, showing centrally coordinated data falsification “has clearly taken place”.

Simply, the rise in the numbers of transplants was “too neat to be true” and appeared to be generated using a simple quadratic equation, familiar to high school students.

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