What ethical problems do you see in conducting experiments with human subjects?
The word ‘ETHICS’ means moral principles that govern a person’s behavior or the conducting of an activity. Ethics cannot be measured. They come from within. For some, Ethics is about judgment which is rarely black n white.
Co-relation between Ethics and Medical research has always been a hot potato. Medical Research ethics involves application of fundamental ethical principles to a variety of topics involving scientific research e.g.; protection of living beings humans or animals involved in the research, planning and conducting research trials in a way that no one is harmed and publication of each research conducted and its results found etc. Various ethical issues were faced by research in the past due to lack of regulations and regulatory bodies after which some agreements came into force like the declaration of Helsinki 1947, Nuremberg Code etc. Today we have various written set of rules or ethical guidelines for conducting any and every sort of medical research. But we still face Ethical issues!!
Biomedical research is a wide array of research with various phases including the pre-clinical and clinical phase. Ethics are expected to be applied in both the phases.
Ethical issues in pre-clinical trials involving animals
Although PETA protects the animals n fights for their ethical treatment across the globe . Still some serious issues involves:
- Confounding effects of laboratory confinement, environment, food n stress on animals
- Sometimes animal condition becomes pathetic
- Some tests involved are decades old which can still not be validated today
- Death of animals
Ethical issues in clinical trials involving human subjects
Various controversial ethical issues of major concern are faced in clinical trials involving human subjects. These include:
- Taking informed consent and making patients aware about any possibility of causing harm
- Collection of sensitive patient information and personal information
- Maintaining confidentiality
- Providing incentives
- During and Post research care of subjects
- Avoiding bias
- Using inappropriate research methodology
- Issue of placebo controls used in various trials like HIV (making diseased people suffer by not giving them proven preventive treatments)
- Death of Humans
Although various regulatory authorities’ and ethical committees across the globe are consistently trying to resolve these issues n have already made guidelines n rules but is everybody executing it? NO
Various individual sponsors, pharmaceutical industries andcompanies’ are biased cause of greed, money involved and various other personal interests. Therefore there is a black hole between how the things are conducted and how they are portrayed to have been conducted, several scientists have backed all this by proofs.
Although these issues are a key part of research ethics, there are also wider issues about standards of conduct.
- Plagiarism (using other peoples work without accrediting them)
- Fabrication of results, records n reports
- Falsification of processes involved, materials used
- Non-publication of negative results
- Poor data storage and retention
- Misleading authorship
- Faulty data gathering
Though medical research has given various benefits to mankind like:
- Vaccines for polio andmeasles
- Insulin treatment for diabetes
- Classes of antibiotics
- Medication for high blood pressure etc…
But Benefits come with a price. That price is sometimes several human lives, which is mostly not published.
Do we really need to do it? And if we don’t; how do we conduct such studies for treating still incurable diseases!!