II. A Brief History of Research Ethics Violations and Regulation

The Helsinki Declaration stipulates that no one group of society should disproportionately bear the costs of, or reap the benefits of, research. The Helsinki Declaration also says that any research participant should receive the best treatment available:

"In any medical study, every patient - including those of a control group, if any - should be assured of the best proven  diagnostic and therapeutic method.."

It also declares that "the populations in which the research is carried out [must] stand to benefit from the results of the research." [1]

But anti-retroviral therapy (ART) trials in Africa have shown how transnational research poses new challenges to the principles of ethical research. In the wake of the HIV-AIDS epidemic, poor countries have been used to test new drug therapies because medical trials in such countries are much cheaper than medical trials in wealthy, developed countries. But the people participating in medical research in poor countries have not been given the same treatment as patients in wealthy countries. They also have not benefited to the same extent from the development of new drug therapies to treat HIV transmission.

[1] https://www.wma.net/policies-post/wma-declaration-of-helsinki-ethical-principles-for-medical-research-involving-human-subjects/

p12Map showing the number of people receiving antiretroviral therapy as of December 2006. Copyright 2007 World Health Organization, all rights reserved.