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BMC Med Ethics. 2015 Sep 9;16:60. doi: 10.1186/s12910-015-0053-5.

Research participants' perceptions and views on consent for biobank research: a review of empirical data and ethical analysis.

Author information

1
Institute for Medical Ethics and History of Medicine, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Markstraße 258a, D-44799, Bochum, Germany. flavio.dabramo@charite.de.
2
Charité Comprehensive Cancer Center, Charité - Universitätsmedizin, Charitéplatz 1, Berlin, D-10117, Germany. flavio.dabramo@charite.de.
3
Institute for Medical Ethics and History of Medicine, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Markstraße 258a, D-44799, Bochum, Germany. jan.schildmann@rub.de.
4
Institute for Medical Ethics and History of Medicine, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Markstraße 258a, D-44799, Bochum, Germany. jochen.vollmann@rub.de.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Appropriate information and consent has been one of the most intensely discussed topics within the context of biobank research. In parallel to the normative debate, many socio-empirical studies have been conducted to gather experiences, preferences and views of patients, healthy research participants and further stakeholders. However, there is scarcity of literature which connects the normative debate about justifications for different consent models with findings gained in empirical research. In this paper we discuss findings of a limited review of socio-empirical research on patients' and healthy research participants' experiences and views regarding consent to biobank research in light of ethical principles for appropriate information and consent.

METHODS:

Review question: Which empirical data are available on research participants' perceptions and views regarding information and elicitation of consent for biobank research? Search of articles published till March 1st 2014 in Pubmed. Review of abstracts and potentially relevant full text articles by two authors independently. As categories for content analysis we defined (i) understanding or recall of information, (ii) preferences regarding information or consent, and (iii) research participants' concerns.

RESULTS:

The search in Pubmed yielded 337 abstracts of which 10 articles were included in this study. Approaches to information and consent varied considerably across the selected studies. The majority of research participants opted for some version of limited consent when being informed about such possibility. Among the factors influencing the type of preferred consent were information about sponsoring of biobank research by pharmaceutical industry and participants' trade-off between privacy and perceived utility. Studies investigating research participants' understanding and recall regarding the consent procedure indicated considerable lack of both aspects. Research participants' perceptions of benefits and harms differ across those studies.

CONCLUSION:

The knowledge, perceptions and views of research participants who have undergone a consent procedure within the context of biobank research raise several questions on the issue of how to inform and elicit consent in an ethically acceptable way. In our empirical-ethical analysis we develop suggestions on how the practice of eliciting consent in the biobank context should be improved.

PMID:
26354520
PMCID:
PMC4563851
DOI:
10.1186/s12910-015-0053-5
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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