Evolving values in ethics and global health research
IJsselmuiden, C. B.
Kass, N. E.
Lavery, J. V.
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Over the past 25 years, the ethics of international health research have shifted from addressing narrow issues such as cultural differences in informed consent practices towards a greater emphasis on development and social justice. We anticipate that the next ‘era’ in international research ethics will involve an intensification of this focus on the role of research in achieving global justice. Three values, in particular, will shape how ethics considerations should evolve: solidarity; respect for Southern innovation; and commitment to action. We expect continuing debate on whether researchers and research sponsors should recognize more than a minimal set of obligations for the care and benefit of research participants and their communities. As the debate about the role of research in development intensifies, we expect to see new and more elaborate mechanisms for financing on-going access to beneficial interventions, ancillary care and other research-related benefits, as well as a greater involvement in research funding by developing country governments and private foundations. Ethics review and oversight need to reflect on these new values and on ways of operationalising them, or risk becoming marginalised in the research process.