Author: G.R. Gillett (University of Otago, Medical School, Department of Surgery, PO Box 913, Dunedin, New Zealand)
Abstract: Dentistry is a Hippocratic profession and is therefore committed to ongoing research into the causes and treatments of disease. This research embodies ethical standards which place a high value on a respect for persons. Those standards emphasize that we obtain informed consent from individuals selected to participate in research. The relevant information required for informed consent varies from situation to situation but should take into account the need for participants to make a reasoned decision about their involvement. Where community research is involved, there should be consultation with appropriate representatives. In all contemporary medical research, there is an inherent conflict between the ethical requirement that we share information which will help those who are suffering and the need to preserve rights to competitively sensitive information related to product development and academic funding. These various pressures on research emphasize the need for an active and lively appreciation of ethical issues in contemporary biomedical sciences.
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