Author(s)Macpherson, Cheryl Cox
Quality of Health Care
Human Experimentation Policy Guidelines / Institutional Review Boards
Scientific Research Ethics
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AbstractCIOMS has been criticised for not adequately consulting stakeholders about its revised ethical guidelines regarding medical research. Political and logistical issues that arise in democratic processes and open exchange of information probably contributed to this exclusion. What might CIOMS have done to be more inclusive and attain broader consensus on its proposed revisions? Consensus is dynamic, and evolves as a community digests new information and perspectives. Engaging the public (and particularly the stakeholders) in discussion about the revisions would have generated broader consensus. It would have encouraged more stakeholders (i.e. researchers, potential research participants, research institutions, or governments) to buy in. CIOMS needs a process to encourage dialogue and stakeholder input. The CIOMS guidelines themselves promote stakeholder consultation and capacity building, but CIOMS has done relatively little to distribute or promote its own guidelines. CIOMS should do more to promote its revised guidelines, and engage stakeholders in dialogue. This paper explores the bioethics debate about universal and relative values to illustrate the value of consultation and consensus building. It concludes that like research sponsors, CIOMS and similar organisations have an ethical responsibility to facilitate capacity building in less developed areas, and to participate more actively in consensus building.
Bioethics 2004 June; 18(3): 283-292