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Edited by L Doyal, J S Tobias. BMJ Books, 2001, £50.00 (hb), pp 336. ISBN 0-7279-1486-3
Debates over research ethics have until recently revolved around two related questions: the voluntary, informed consent of subjects, and the appropriate relationship between risk and benefit to subjects in the experiment. Recently more attention has been paid to issues of justice in research studies, especially in the international arena, and to issues of the scientific and financial probity of researchers. Yet these new foci augment rather than supplant the traditional focus on consent, since arguably “the rights and wellbeing of the subject take precedence over the interests of science and society”, as the Declaration of Helsinki (still) puts it.
Clinically the difficulties of obtaining the informed consent of subjects to participation in research remain one of the more difficult barriers to research. Recently this issue has become more fraught in non-clinical research also, with complex debates over consent to the use and reuse of clinical …