Genetic research presents ethical challenges to the achievement of valid informed consent, especially in developing countries with areas of low literacy. During the last several years, a number of genetic research proposals involving Omani nationals were submitted to the Department of Research and Studies, Ministry of Health, Oman.The objective of this paper is to report on the results of an internal quality assurance initiative to determine the extent of the information being provided in genetic research informed consent forms. In order (...) to achieve this, we developed checklists to assess the inclusion of basic elements of informed consent as well as elements related to the collection and future storage of biological samples. Three of the authors independently evaluated and reached consensus on seven informed consent forms that were available for review.Of the seven consent forms, four had less than half of the basic elements of informed consent. None contained any information regarding whether genetic information relevant to health would be disclosed, whether participants may share in commercial products, the extent of confidentiality protections, and the inclusion of additional consent forms for future storage and use of tissue samples. Information regarding genetic risks and withdrawal of samples were rarely mentioned (1/7), whereas limits on future use of samples were mentioned in 3 of 7 consent forms.Ultimately, consent forms are not likely to address key issues regarding genetic research that have been recommended by research ethics guidelines. We recommend enhanced educational efforts to increase awareness, on the part of researchers, of information that should be included in consent forms. (shrink)
Background: Concerns have been expressed regarding the adequacy of ethics review systems in developing countries. Limited data are available regarding the structural and functional status of Research Ethics Committees (RECs) in the Middle East. The purpose of this study was to survey the existing RECs in Egypt to better understand their functioning status, perceived resource needs, and challenges. Methods: We distributed a self-administered survey tool to Egyptian RECs to collect information on the following domains: general characteristics of the REC, membership (...) composition, ethics training, workload, process of ethics review, perceived challenges to effective functioning, and financial and material resources. We used basic descriptive statistics to evaluate the quantitative data. Results: We obtained responses from 67% (12/18) of the identified RECs. Most RECs (10/12) have standard operating procedures and many (7/12) have established policies to manage conflicts of interests. The average membership was 10.3 with a range from 7-19. The predominant member type was physicians (69.5% of all of the REC members) with little lay representation (13.7%). Most RECs met at least once/month and the average number of protocols reviewed per meeting was 3.8 with a range from 1-10. Almost three-quarters of the members from all of the 12 RECs indicated they received some formal training in ethics. Regarding resources, roughly half of the RECs have dedicated capital equipment (e.g., meeting room, computers, office furniture, etc); none of the RECs have a formal operating budget. Perceived challenges included the absence of national research ethics guidelines and national standards for RECs and lack of ongoing training of its members in research ethics. Conclusion: Our study documents several areas of strengths and areas for improvements in the operations of Egyptian RECs. Regarding strengths, many of the existing RECs meet frequently, have a majority of members with prior training in research ethics, and have written policies. Regarding areas for improvements, many RECs should strive for a more diverse membership and should receive more financial resources and administrative support personnel. We recommend that RECs include more individuals from the community and develop a continuing educational program for its members. Institutional officials should be aware of the resource capacity needs of their RECs. (shrink)
Ethics issues in the areas of science, technology and medicine have emerged during the last few decades. Many countries have responded by establishing ethics committees at the national level. Identification of National Ethics Committees (NECs) in the Eastern Mediterranean (EM) region and the extent of their functions and capacity would be helpful in developing capacity building programs that address the needs of these committees. Accordingly, we conducted a survey to determine the characteristics of existing NECs in the EM region.
BackgroundStudies have shown that research participants fail to appreciate the difference between research and medical care, labeling such phenomenon as a "therapeutic misconception" (TM). Since research activity involving human participants is increasing in the Middle East, qualitative research investigating aspects of TM is warranted. Our objective was to assess for the existence of therapeutic misconception amongst Egyptians.MethodsStudy Tool: We developed a semi-structured interview guide to elicit the knowledge, attitudes, and perspectives of Egyptians regarding medical research.Setting: We recruited individuals from the (...) outpatient settings (public and private) at Ain Shams University in Cairo, Egypt.Analysis: Interviews were taped, transcribed, and translated. We analyzed the content of the transcribed text to identify the presence of a TM, defined in one of two ways: TM1 = inaccurate beliefs about how individualized care can be compromised by the procedures in the research and TM2 = inaccurate appraisal of benefit obtained from the research study.ResultsOur findings showed that a majority of participants (11/15) expressed inaccurate beliefs regarding the degree with which individualized care will be maintained in the research setting (TM1) and a smaller number of participants (5/15) manifested an unreasonable belief in the likelihood of benefits to be obtained from a research study (TM2). A total of 12 of the 15 participants were judged to have expressed a TM on either one of these bases.ConclusionThe presence of TM is not uncommon amongst Egyptian individuals. We recommend further qualitative studies investigating aspects of TM involving a larger sample size distinguished by different types of illnesses and socio-economic variables, as well as those who have and have not participated in clinical research. (shrink)
Medical research must involve the participation of human subjects. Knowledge of patients' perspectives and concerns with their involvement in research would enhance recruitment efforts, improve the informed consent process, and enhance the overall trust between patients and investigators. Several studies have examined the views of patients from Western countries. There is limited empirical research involving the perspectives of individuals from developing countries. The purpose of this study is to examine the attitudes of Egyptian individuals toward medical research. Such information would (...) help clarify the type and extent of concerns regarding research participation of individuals from cultural, economic, and political backgrounds that differ from those in developed countries. (shrink)