A SUMMARY OF ORIENTATION PROGRAM ON ETHICS IN RESEARCH ON HUMAN SUBJECTS
HELD ON 18TH FEBRUARY, 2012
AT JAWAHARLAL NEHRU UNIVERSITY, NEW DELHI, INDIA
INTRODUCTION: By Prof. Vaishna Narang
With the passage of Inaugural Session, Prof. Vaishna Narang first addressed the audience and spectators who were keeping their physically and mentally appearance and presence in the committee room, by having given the warm welcome to the chief guests and all participants, the students of all the schools and faculty of jnu and introduction of Bioethics and its Research on Human Subjects, the bad results and consequences and the long and deep history of Bioethics in brief and also expressed the great thankful to all comers.
During her speech, she talked about the deep history of Bioethics and its research especially in Medical Science where it was shown that a huge number of people have been victim of medical researchers and scholars and a large number of researches and experiments have been conducted on Human especially by Nazi Physicians in Europe and targeted some communities and races including Jews, Zoroastrians, black males and so on without having taken the informed consent and confidentiality from informants and volunteers.
She while talking about the deep history of Bioethics, said that the bioethics lead two kinds of functions that is Regulatory and Academic function. The history of bioethics is as old as medical practice such as sickness vs. cure, heal vs. healer and doctor vs. patients. Further she said that the first book “Medical Ethics” written by Thomas Percival in 1803 that is a landmark in the field of Bioethics and medical ethics with its medical morality that has produced its first Code of Ethics for American doctor and drew the attention of the American Medical Association formed in 1842. Latter on the great man Dr. Chauncey Leake commented on the need for a deeper understanding of medical morality, based on explicit theories of moral philosophy and it was felt that theory of moral philosophy should be contributed to the medial practice for the sake of the personal relationship of trust between doctors and patients that is being seen as a challenge. In 1954, Joseph Fletcher, Prof. of Moral Theology wrote the book “Morals and Medicine” who has highlighted the explicit philosophical theory of ethics, utilitarianism and extremely reformulated medical morality on several topics namely euthanasia, telling the truth to patients, abortion and contraception. In such condition, Fletcher’s Morals and Medicine was seen as a milestone in the field of medical ethics.
While talking about the deep history of Bioethics, she also gave the example that is the artificial ventilators in 1950s saved a huge number of patients from cardiorespiratory death. If we withdraw the ventilator from patients and let them die that is also unethical act and inhumanity. So the medical practice and research is doing a great job.
Further she also talked about the God Committee that has been the ball of discussion and debate in 60s who has the authority and right to decide that who would live and who would die. It was discussed and decided that the selection of patients should be made on the basis of social utility and assessed in the light of the social worth be repudiated and the selection be made by random methods such as lotteries and the inherent dignity of person should be respected. It has been the ball of debate and a long discussion in the past.
In 1974, Dan Callahan, who founded the major research institute in this new field, The Hastings Center wrote an influential article entitled “Bioethics as a Discipline” in which he suggested that his new field could develop itself into a unique discipline, using both the traditional methods of philosophical analysis and human emotion, social and political influence with which medicine was practiced.
She also talked about the Ethics Review Board in JNU. She expressed that in India, there are more than 25 central universities but no one has any Ethics Review Board or any academic activities or research program except JNU. It is very pleasure to say that in JNU there is an Institutional Ethics Review Board and also M.Phil Course is also being offered in this winter semester at Center for Linguistic by Pof. Vaishna Narang and she also convinced the Vice Chancellor Prof. S.K.Sopory of JNU to promote and push this Ethics Review Board in advance because it is the need of time at present. It is a matter of pleasure in fact to listen to vice chancellor Sopory and his speech in which he expressed his great thankful to Prof. Vaishna Narang who really persuaded and tried her level best to convinced and invited him to join the orientation program on Ethics Research on Human Subjects held on 18th Feb 2012 and further he expressed his views by saying that he would try his level best to promote and support this Board and open the way for the Ethical Research. According to him, at least diploma or one year course should be offered at the center to make people aware thoroughly in JNU.
Prof. Vaishna Narang, the organizer of the Orientation program: Ethics in Research on Human Subjects, gave a very nice introductory part on Ethics and its history after WWII especially in Europe and particularly in the field of Medical Sciences research. During her introductory speech, she mentioned the book namely “Moral and Medician” by the American Medical Scientist in 1927 that is considered as a master piece in the history of Bioethics. She also mentioned other book like “On Liberty” written by John Stuart Mill and also the article “A History of Bioethics as Discipline and Discourse” by Albert R. Jonsen and said that Bioethics is now seen and considered as Discipline and Discourse. She also gave some over views of this article and its contents. She also talked about the book On Liberty and how this book is more important and essential for the students or others from the ethical point of views. She insisted and emphasized us to read this book which has explained every ethical and unethical issue from different aspect of views very well.
Protecting the Biosphere- Prof.D.Raghunandan
Dr. Raghunandan in his speech talked about the protecting and safety of biosphere and climate change and its impact on human subject in all over the world. He said that today it is the biggest challenge to prevent and protect the biosphere that is the cause of the climate changing and affects the human life, agriculture, atmosphere, living species or nonliving objects.
He further mentioned that there are many ethical central principles that drive the process which stand behind in any disciplinary approach namely social science, environmental science and physical science.
· The first ethical principle of human is to access equally natural resource as much as he can do. Every individual has equal right to use the natural resource as common people do that.
· The second ethical principle is the capita principle based on all international negotiation take place where some countries like to see it as political argument, forwarded by developing countries. In fact it is fundamentally ethical and legal principle.
· The third ethical principle is the Natural Rags from which the capita principle comes based on that it is the famous principle in UN framework condition of climate change based on the protocols and others. The principle is common but different in respect of responsibility and respectable capability.
· The fourth ethical principle is the principle of pollute pace, it is recognized as it is in International law and environmental regulation. This principle is based on the fact that those who commit the act of pollution then it is required to clean up the pollution. That is the common responsibility to clean the pollution but different in terms of responsibility based on two main things i.e.
1. How much you have polluted and what is the historical contribution of your emission which left to the problems as stand today.
2. Responsibility and capability are common but different. How much capability you have to tackle this problems and have you assumed the responsibility to solve problems.
· The climate crisis based on the constructive set of rules which can guide us in future. The main foundational ethical principle lies in common but different in respect of responsibility and respective capability in generation equity. Individual equity and national equity build on the individual equity of access to global.
· The idea is that if we do not care and tackle the problem of atmosphere and climate change then the coming generation would bear more risk than today. We do not have the right to spoil the future of new generation at all.
· The principle is that humans are responsible not only for survival of human species but humans are also responsible for other living species. We need to think about and consider the mother earth as a living entity on which all animate and inanimate objects are living.
· The principle of equity is central and ethical dimension in social science and other sciences.
· The data show that 46% people in India do not access the electricity and America consume 17% times energy that India and 18% is responsible for climate change. To pollute the atmosphere is also unethical and illegal act.
Inaugural address- Prof. Ranjit Roy Chaudhury
Dr. Chaudhary in his inaugural address said that almost 185 patients with mental retardations died because of unethical, illegal and inhuman research, were conducted on them by the central hospital in different corners and parts of India.
In abroad too, a large number of children and people have lost their lives due to unethical and illegal research, having given the vaccine to them and all of them were suspended.
He further in his outstanding speech gave many special principles of ethical research on human subjects in social science, environmental science and so on.
Ø The scientific design: we must have the scientific design in ethical research to assume the valid results by trying to add some research. If we do not have the proper design, we will not get the valid result then it is so called unethical. So every ethical must have a scientific design and its valid result. This Institute of Ethics Review Board should review it properly to see the valid result if yes then ok otherwise it should be regarded as an unethical research.
Ø Further he talked about the most important principle of ethical research is Risk vs. Profit. While doing research and experiments on Human subject it is necessary to see the both parts of the research. Earlier physicians and researchers have discovered many machines such as X-Ray, Ultrasound, Dialysis, ventilators, medical tools, many dangerous and infective virus or bacteria and the sense of organ transplantation including kidney, heart and other organs of body through surgery in Medical Science that are really useful and beneficial to all human beings in all over the world. In each and every research and experiment, we have a different kind of risks and challenge but we should reduce it to its very low level as the capacity of researcher or scholars.
Ø He talked about Stigma where the research is being conducted on HIV children and that make it stigma for HIV children in their society. In such condition, children or the pregnant women with HIV on them the research is carried on to discover the new vaccine that can prevent children from being infected in wombs of her mother. So this kind of stigma is really bad.
Ø He also talked about the most important principles of research and experiments being focused during the conducting research on human subjects that are the informed consent and confidentiality from informants and volunteers. It is depend on the two main things. That is Participant who has the equal right to know and get information about the research and its result and its harm and its profit. Without taking informed consent and confidentiality from informants or volunteers, if we conduct any research or experiment on human subjects will be considered as an illegal, unethical and inhuman and anti research principles. Before we conduct any research or experiment, we are supposed to tell everything like its risks, physical and psychological harm and profits to the informants or volunteers frankly and clearly without keeping anything in a secret or mystery because the research or experiment is being done on them then it is obviously they have their legal, natural, ethical right and authority to ask and know about everything. If any informants or volunteers get injured or any physical or psychological harm or injury, then the research committee or research authority must provide the medical, clinical treatments and all kinds of facilities to the informants till they recover from harm, illness and disease.
Ø He at last also mentioned the Research Authority or Committee who funds for researcher and informants or participants is also important for that authority to see the ethical and legal research and the valid result in research. This authority or Ethical Research Board should promote, encourage and cooperate the ethical research in all sciences such as social, environmental, physical, medical practice to facilitate the humans and prevent them from any fatal diseases and any problems.
This is only the first session of the program and the summary of the greatest speakers's speeches. I think it must have helped the students and faculty as well.