6. Showing Ongoing Respect For Persons

In research ethics, respect for humans should be present before a trial starts. This happens when projects are evaluated by RECs to ensure they meet the highest ethical standards and are worthy of participant consent. Continued respect for persons must also be shown during a trial and after it is completed. Some examples of this are:

  • Any new information that may be relevant to a participant’s continued participation should be communicated to that person. They should be given the opportunity to reassess their consent.

  • Personal information about research participants must be kept confidential. It should not be shared with outside persons, i.e. people not involved in the trial.

  • The way in which research results are reported and published must be considered carefully to avoid stigmatising groups and communities that participated in the research.

  • After the trial is completed, consideration should be given to whether participants in any placebo control group will receive the experimental medicine if it is proven to be effective and whether participants in the trial continue to receive the tested medicine once the trial is complete.

  • In developing countries, consideration should also be given to whether the wider community will be provided with access to the benefits arising from research. This is a contentious issue with no easy answer.
It is generally agreed that all of these concerns should be addressed before the research starts.