Monday, February 12, 2007

Ethics of Medical Research

A study conducted on 1 300 women in 4 developing countries - South Africa, Benin, Uganda and India - was being undertaken to see if a microbicide gel had been created that could allow women even greater empowerment for caring for themselves and ensuring they do not contract HIV.

Many women do not have a choice of a condom being worn during sex if the man does not like it, and her husband/partner will not wear one despite the woman knowing that he poses a risk to her. If she should insist on him using a condom, he will accuse HER of cheating on HIM.

A few women who were part of the study contracted HIV during the study, and so fear arose that perhaps the gel actually increased their chances of contracting HIV. The study was prematurely terminated.

With the increasing difficulty in getting research projects accepted by Medical Ethical Committees in Western countries, drug companies, who stand to make enormous profits, are turning to 3rd world countries to do research that exposes participants to unacceptable risk. Would the drug company involved ever have contemplated this sort of research in the USA?

No comments: