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Pros and cons of prosent as an alternative to traditional consent in medical research
  1. Vasiliki Nataly Rahimzadeh
  1. Center for Biomedical Ethics, Stanford University, Stanford, California, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Vasiliki Nataly Rahimzadeh, Center for Biomedical Ethics, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305, USA; vrahim{at}


In their recent article, Porsdam Mann et al propose to share biomedical research data more widely, securely and efficiently using blockchain technologies. 1 They present compelling arguments for how the blockchain presents both a technological innovation, and a deontologically grounded policy innovation to traditional research consent. Their proposal can be read in conversation with a rich body of evidence to suggest current consent processes are problematic on at least one of tripartite bases in biomedical research: that it be fully informed. This response attempts to further the author’s discussion of social justice discourse in, and of their proposed prosent model to enhance engagement among under-represented and vulnerable populations in research, specifically. Motivating this response is the view that advancing technological capabilities is no doubt necessary, but on its own insufficient to reinvigorate distributive, procedural and social justice as guiding principles for con/prosent processes. I offer three pros and cons to consider in effort to deepen the model’s commitments to social justice to historically marginalised groups in the biomedical research enterprise.

  • informed consent
  • information technology
  • confidentiality/privacy
  • research ethics

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  • Contributors VNR is the sole author of this response, and takes full responsibility for the ideas and writings articulated in the manuscript.

  • 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.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

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

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