Healthcare Research in Developing Countries: Ethical Issues

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By: Michael Igoumenidis, Sophia Zyga


Background:In recent years, Western organizations and companies have been increasingly using countries of the developing world as places of clinical trials. The involvement of human subjects in healthcare research evokes ethical concerns, especially when their culture is different and their socio-economic status is lower than the Western standards.

Method and Material: A systematic analysis of documents related to the ethics of clinical trials involving human subjects, with particular emphasis on the developing world.

Result: The most important areas of concern include the issue of informed consent, the subjects‟ compensation, their standard of care, the presence of Research Ethics Committees in developing countries, and the question of what happens after research is over.

Conclusion: Even though many ethical issues are far from clear, and the risk of human subjects‟ exploitation is always possible, Western -funded research in developing countries should continue; potential benefits outnumber the risks.

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