The ethical problems that arise from modern biotechnologies include the availability and use of privileged information, the potential for ecological harm, access to new drugs and treatments, and the idea of interfering with nature. Applications include agriculture and health care. Biotechnological health is going through what all other emerging scientific disciplines are experiencing: the challenge of defining its ethical limits. Research, costs and privacy issues raise concerns that third party payers, employers, suppliers and policy makers will face in the coming years.
As the first decade of the 21st century reaches its midpoint, Biotechnology Healthcare has identified five topics that dominate ethical debates about biotechnological medicine. 1.These issues will continue to generate controversy in the near future, forcing third-party payers, employers and unions, purchasers and health service providers to address the political implications of some or all of them for years to come. In an article published in 2002 in Epidemiology Review, Jeremy Sugarman, MD, MPH, professor of bioethics and medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, wrote: “It is critical to ensure that research is conducted in a responsible manner throughout the study cycle, from the way participants are selected to the way data is entered, analyzed and reported. Attention must be paid to every aspect of research for the success of the scientific enterprise and to protect study participants and others from unnecessary harm.
Arturo L. Caplan, PhD 2 and director of the Center for Bioethics at the University of Pennsylvania, highlighted in a recent interview with Biotechnology Healthcare that researchers must ensure that clinical trials are not distorted by inconsistent agreements. In addition, he says, volunteers should not be recruited in a way that suggests that they are being paid bribes, unlike reimbursing legitimate expenses. Protecting patient privacy is a growing concern, thanks to technology that allows the human genome to be decoded.
However, as scientists become experts at deciphering a person's genetic makeup, compromising information about a person's future health is increasingly likely to become available. For example, it may be possible to know that a 5-year-old child will develop serious heart disease later in life, but does a potential employer have a right to know? How will this knowledge affect an individual's ability to obtain a job, insurance, or a mortgage? Should insurers and others have that information? This is a thorny problem destined to get even thornier. However, even this statement leaves open the question of the extent to which a person's rights can be overshadowed by the needs of society. This is especially true in the wake of the Patriot Act.
Reflecting public fears about terrorism, federal law is triggering a heated debate about people's right to privacy and the security concerns of society in general. With legal challenges pending, it's easy to see how even the ethical statement for managed care can cause difficulties. This should come as no surprise. Stem cell research is anathema to the religious right and made its way in the recent presidential elections.
National Library of Medicine 8600 Rockville Pike Bethesda, MD 20894.Should Christians face the unethical uses of biotechnology with desperation and resignation or with hope and determination?. If you think about medical biotechnology, the use of technology and biology can help find treatments for diseases that kill millions of people every year. But why might some people object to the use of biotechnology? In relation to our previous point, critics of biotechnology may consider the use of animals to ensure human welfare cruel, and calls are being made to increase the protection of these animals. There will always be ethical issues in genetic engineering and biotechnology.
I must say that it is rewarding to work with those who are increasingly successful in addressing human needs and alleviating human suffering. . .