The Diverse Ethics of Translational Research

American Journal of Bioethics 10 (8):19-30 (2010)
Commentators on the ethics of translational research find it morally problematic. Types of translational research are said to involve questionable benefits, special risks, additional barriers to informed consent, and severe conflicts of interest. Translational research conducted on the global poor is thought to exploit them and increase international disparities. Some commentators support especially stringent ethical review. However, such concerns are grounded only in pre-approval translational research (now called T1 ). Whether or not T1 has these features, translational research beyond approval ( T2 : phase IV, health services, and implementation research) is unlikely to and, when conducted on the global poor, may support development. Therefore, insofar as T1 is morally problematic, and no independent objections to T2 exist, the ethics of translational research is diverse: while some translational research is problematic, some is not. Funding and oversight should reflect this diversity, and T2 should be encouraged, particularly when conducted among the global poor
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