Human dignity as a basis for providing post-trial access to healthcare for research participants: a South African perspective

Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 21 (1):139-155 (2018)
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Abstract

This paper discusses the need to focus on the dignity of human participants as a legal and ethical basis for providing post-trial access to healthcare. Debate about post-trial benefits has mostly focused on access to products or interventions proven to be effective in clinical trials. However, such access may be modelled on a broad fair benefits framework that emphasises both collateral benefits and interventional products of research, instead of prescribed post-trial access alone. The wording of the current version of the Declaration of Helsinki could in fact be interpreted to broaden the scope to include other collateral benefits by applying such a broad fair benefits framework. We argue that this possibility should be utilised by low and middle income countries’ health research ethics committees in order to ensure that research participants who enrol in clinical trials so as to receive medical care continue to access care after the trial is concluded, as befits their dignity. Although each LMIC has unique concerns, nonetheless there are common challenges based especially on emerging issues, such as post-trial access to healthcare. Accordingly, the South African perspective is used to draw lessons that can benefit other LMICs.

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