Research Ethics 9 (3):97-108 (2013)

The ramifications of including genetic components in the clinical studies conducted in non-academic settings create unique ethical challenges. We used a qualitative research design consisting of semi-structured interviews that took place between October 2010 and September 2012. The sample consisted of 80 participants − 38 physicians and 42 coordinators − who worked across a number of different settings, including clinics, private practices, small hospitals, free standing research centers, and blended hospital-institutes in both rural and urban communities in 13 states across the United States. The respondents primarily conducted industry sponsored trials and recruited their own patients as research participants. A majority of the respondents (65%) reported that most of the studies they conducted included an additional genetics component, and so participants were asked to donate specimens for genomics or biobanking. While genomics association studies were perceived as being of benefit, awareness of ethical implications associated with such studies was limited. The rapid advances in genetic technologies make it hard for clinicians and coordinators to help patients make informed decisions about participating in clinical research, and underscore the need to ensure that the regulations governing research on human subjects keep pace with the social and technological changes. It seems essential to discern legitimate ethical concerns and find ways to convey what is going on, what is possible and what might not be possible in terms of protecting privacy, anonymity, and confidentiality
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DOI 10.1177/1363460713494647
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