The debate must go on
The fight for ethical healthcare research does not end with the setting up of research ethics committees. ECs face a number of challenges. Some of these are discussed in this special collection of essays on the ethics of ethics committees. Our guest editors for this issue, Dr Silke Schicktanz and Dr Michael Dusche, have tapped the experiences of those working in Israel, Germany, Romania, India, and among the ethnic communities of the USA.
New medical technologies are continually spawning new ethical challenges; and the question is: how can the regulatory system respond to them? This question comes up once again as The Assisted Reproductive Technologies (Regulation) Bill, 2010, is expected to be presented before Parliament. A scholar contrasts the laissez faire approach of the UK to the regulation recently passed in France. Another author examines the revamped Medicare system in the USA through the lens of ethics and equity.
An eloquent plea is made for laboratory facilities to be provided to rural primary health care centres which lack many essentials. On the other hand, vast funds meant for the NRHM are spirited away in scams conducted by the powerful, who have not stopped short of murder. Three doctors in UP have died in this war. This belies the hopes of all who believe that more funding within the system can cure our problems.
Two original studies, one each from India and Pakistan, scrutinise the claims made in drug advertisements; while a commentary deals with the ethics of a ‘no-treatment arm’ for community-based interventions and is accompanied by a response from the researchers. Finally, an editorial discusses the MCI’s plans to introduce ethics into medical education.
Cover photograph of rural laboratory, Ganiyari. Courtesy: Biswaroop Chatterjee