Making research ethical: Challenges old and new
This issue of IJME has an editorial on the National Medical Commission and whether any improvement in healthcare can be expected from a body which is firmly market-oriented. Three articles cover ICMR’s National Guidelines for Biomedical and Health Research Involving Human Participants, 2017. One explains the structure and rationale while two others unpack the provisions for benefit-sharing and the integration of social/behavioural research with health research. A Comment critically analyses the futile application of indicators like impact factor and h-index to scientific writing. Two studies look at the audio-visual consent process in vaccine trials and the adherence to CARE guidelines in case reports. A third draws attention to the urgent need for sensitive ethical guidelines for research among adult survivors of child sexual abuse. Five years after the horrific gang rape and death of Nirbhaya, things on the ground are even worse for women and children. A Comment seeks answers to the question: Have the concrete recommendations for reform been sincerely implemented?
The subjects covered in the issue span an interesting and eclectic range, from our obsession with fairness right from conception, and the eternal bugbear of corruption in pharma, to the need for an ethical and consistent risk communication policy for the government, with particular reference to the Zika cases of 2017. Letters, reflections and reviews complete the spectrum.
Cover credit: “Gaillardia” by Dr Sameer Rao