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25 February 2003

Policy and ethical issues in applying medical biotechnology in developing countries.

Minakshi Bhardwaj, Darryl R.J. Macer

Med Sci Monit 2003; 9(2): RA49-54 :: ID: 4742

Abstract

A brief review of some of the key issues in policy relating to the ethical issues raised by medical biotechnology in developing countries is presented, using India as an example. A series of some key issues is discussed, including information obtained from interviewing Indian government policy makers. Some of the issues discussed include: Economic and social incentives to encourage biotechnology; Health policy and ethics review; Patents on drugs; Medical genetics; Relationship to traditional medical practices; Positive public attitudes to biotechnology; Limited public participation; Infrastructural hurdles; Indian progress in stem cell research; and dilemmas of expensive technologies. The results show that although the needs of developing countries are different to those of rich countries, government policy utilizing guidelines and ethics committees has evolved as mechanisms to aid ethical health care delivery in India. In all countries there may be some of these concerns that are raised here, however, the integration of traditional medicine and advanced medical technology, and access to medical services by people in need, are particularly important challenges in developing countries. Better public involvement in policy making will require education and infrastructural organization as well as mutual willingness on the part of policy makers and citizens.

Keywords: Biomedical Research - ethics, Biotechnology - ethics, Technology, Medical - economics, Technology, Medical - ethics

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