Ethics of Clinical Research: An Islamic Perspective

Hossam E Fadel


Medical progress depends on research which has to involve at some point human subjects. The human rights of research subjects must be protected. Ethical principles and guidelines have been developed by international organizations such as the World Medical Association (WMA) and the Council for International Organizations of Medical Sciences (CIOMS). The Islamic Organization for Medical sciences (IOMS), Kuwait, convened a meeting in Cairo, Egypt 2004, and produced a document advancing an Islamic viewpoint on these principles and guidelines. In this paper I discuss all these documents. The guidelines developed by CIOMS are in general agreement with Islamic principles i.e. respect for the person, bringing benefit, avoiding harm, and justice. However some differences exist to which I alluded. I also added some personal opinions.

Muslim physicians / scientists should get involved in clinical as well as other medical research. It is farḍ kifāya (collective religious duty). They should be familiar with the ethical principles and guidelines and abide by them in their own research. Also, they should monitor externally sponsored research in their own countries to ensure that thee guidelines are followed.



Clinical research; ethics; Islam; Declaration of Helsinki

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