Solidarity and biobanking

The concept of solidarity is currently receiving attention in bioethics and inspires new approaches to ethical problems.

The Nuffield Council on Bioethics recently published a report – Solidarity: reflections on an emerging concept in bioethics – initiating the development of a systematic solidarity framework for approaching difficult ethical questions in biobanking, biosecurity and health inequalities.

Concerning biobank participation, for example, one of the authors of the report makes this interesting statement:

  • “In the spirit of solidarity, we believe that it is acceptable to ask participants to agree to their sample being used in any future research that is within the broad aims of the biobank and has been approved by a research ethics committee. The risks to the participant are very low yet it would save valuable time and resources for the biobank.”

It is furthermore suggested that participation agreements should replace traditional consenting procedures. – I will study this suggestion and hope I can comment on it soon.

Continuing the work in the report, the Nuffield Council on Bioethics and the Brocher Foundation organize an international symposium:

The report and the symposium appear very interesting!

Pär Segerdahl

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