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The biobank consent debate: why ‘meta-consent’ is still the solution!
  1. Thomas Ploug1,
  2. Soren Holm2
  1. 1 Centre for Applied Ethics and Philosophy of Science, Department of Communication and Psychology, Aalborg University Copenhagen, København S, Denmark
  2. 2 Centre for Social Ethics and Policy, School of Law, University of Manchester, Manchester, UK
  1. Correspondence to Prof and Dr Thomas Ploug, Centre for Applied Ethics and Philosophy of Science, Aalborg University Copenhagen, København S 2450, Denmark; ploug{at}


In a recent article in the Journal of Medical Ethics, Neil Manson sets out to show that the meta-consent model of informed consent is not the solution to perennial debate on the ethics of biobank participation. In this response, we shall argue that (i) Manson’s considerations on the costs of a meta-consent model are incomplete and therefore misleading; (ii) his view that a model of broad consent passes a threshold of moral acceptability rests on an analogy that misconstrues how biobank research is actually conducted and (iii) a model of meta-consent is more in tune with the nature of biobank research and enables autonomous choice.

  • biobank
  • informed consent
  • meta consent
  • research ethics

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  • Contributors TP drafted the article on the basis of discussions between both authors. SH revised.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.