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ICMR draft ethical guidelines: a critique

Saheli Women's Resource Centre


Abstract

Women’s groups in India have grappled with ethics in medical research since the early ’80s when blatant ethical violations during clinical trials came to light. From injectable contraceptives being tested on women unaware that they were part of a trial; inadequate follow-up and downplaying side-effects in trials on Norplant and anti-fertility vaccines, to illegal trials on Quinacrine by NGOs, we have contended with non-implementation of existing ethical norms. We have also attempted to redefine the very norms themselves. Violations by scientific bodies such as the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) in contraceptive research and epidemiological research such as the study on cervical cancer, demonstrate the need for public debate and intervention.

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