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Bundesgesundheitsblatt Gesundheitsforschung Gesundheitsschutz. 2008 Aug;51(8):880-6. doi: 10.1007/s00103-008-0609-3.

[Research: ethical norms for medical research on humans].

[Article in German]

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Lehrstuhl für Angewandte Ethik/Ethikzentrum der Friedrich-Schiller-Universität, Jena, BRD.


In the Helsinki Declaration, the World Medical Association lay down basic ethical norms for medical research on humans: the commitment to ensure informed consent of patients, to particularly safeguard vulnerable persons, to use a risk-benefit evaluation that meets human needs and a commitment to adhere to legal regulations and scientific standards. These norms function here as a basic ethical framework as they do not depend on certain ethical systems, cultural or ideological beliefs. Therefore, they offer the chance of finding consensus. The actual challenge here is not to justify once more how useful those norms are that are strongly tied to the concept of human dignity but to apply them to cases of ethical conflicts and thereby increase our understanding of them. In this paper the position of the Bioethics Convention will be defended, that research undertaken with vulnerable subjects is ethically permissible even if the benefits serve others, yet only if the involved risks are minimal. The aim is to prevent vulnerable persons from becoming therapeutic orphans.

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