Clinical research has a potential risk of harm, and therefore sound standards of ethics must be observed.
Research involving human subjects is based on a moral commitment to advancing human welfare, knowledge and understanding, and to exploring cultural dynamics.
This has become prominent especially where large-scale trials conducted in developing countries are concerned.
Of fundamental importance is the duty to conduct scientifically sound research while acting in the participant's best interests and respecting and protecting the participant's autonomy.
Some guiding principles of ethics are respect for: human dignity, autonomy, informed consent, vulnerable persons, confidentiality, the lack of harm, maximum benefit, and justice. Issues of informed consent are of particular importance, as specified in the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa.
The South African Medical Research Council's Ethics Committee is currently in the process of revising the MRC Guidelines on Ethics for Medical Research.
For more info on the MRC's guidelines, visit www.sahealthinfo.org.
Source: SA Health Info