A SURVEY OF SCIENTIST AND POLICY MAKERS' ATTITUDES TOWARD RESEARCH ON STORED HUMAN BIOLOGICAL MATERIALS IN SRI LANKA

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Abstract

Introduction:

Stored human samples and the establishment of biobanks are increasing in the world. Along with this there are the questions of ethics that arise such as the correct method of obtaining informed consent for research on stored samples and the policies involved in collaborative research using collected samples. This study is an attempt to evaluate the researchers, academics and policy makers' views on these ethical aspects.

Methods:

This was an anonymised study involving a Sri Lankan population of researchers, ethics committee members, and policy makers. A self administered questionnaire was utilised as the study instrument. The questionnaire captured four major areas of interest: demographic characteristics of respondents, their attitudes on informed consent policy, their opinion on rights of collaborating researchers, their attitudes on dealing with international differences in regulatory frameworks.

Results:

The study included 55 responders with 40/55 (73%) agreeing that donors should receive the option of giving informed consent for future research, with 31/55 (56%) considering multiple- type consent options most appropriate. Regarding the issue of shared samples in collaborative research majority agreed that source country ethics review committee approval was necessary 53/55 (96%).

Conclusion:

The study concludes that sample donors should be given the option of giving advance consent to unspecified future research provided that future research is approved by an ethics committee. In collaborative research, it is necessary to involve ethics committees from donor countries in the research approval process.

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