Ethical review of research in developing countries needed

ealth. Of those studies that were reviewed, 92 percent said they were reviewed only at the local institutional level. Sixty-nine percent of the U.S.-funded studies were required to receive an ethics review by the study's host country. Forty-four percent of the studies were funded by the United States and U.S. non-profit organizations were the largest single funding source.

Questions about the need for local language consent forms and letters of approval and confidentiality of participants was asked for by U.S. institutional review boards significantly more than by host countries. For those studies that were reviewed by local host country institutional review boards, the areas of most concern were cultural appropriateness of the studies, need for local language consent forms, relevance of research questions to the country where research was being conducted and the availability of interventions for the host country after the study was completed.

Dr. Hyder, also a faculty member of the Phoebe R. Berman Bioethics Institute at the Johns Hopkins University, said, "Not only do ethics reviews need to be a standard in collaborative research in both the host and donor country, but international guidelines for collaborative and multi-national research projects are needed. It is also important to make sure that there is a strong voice from the developing world in all discussions pertaining to this issue and that such discourse is not dominated by well meaning experts from high income countries."


Contact: Kenna L. Brigham
Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health

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