The March edition of DIA’s Global Forum magazine features a special section on clinical research in Ukraine, over one year on from the beginning of the Russian invasion. Here, Chieko Kurihara of Kanagawa Dental University, Japan; Victoriia Dobrova of Ukraine’s National University of Pharmacy; Francis P. Crawley of the Good Clinical Practice Alliance – Europe (GCPA); and representatives of the Strategic Initiative for Developing Capacity in Ethical Review (SIDCER) take a look at the ethical considerations around continuing clinical research in the country.
Civilized society has constructed rules and protective measures to prevent repeating grievous human mistakes and to protect human health, safety, and rights. These include the CIOMS (Council for International Organizations of Medical Sciences) health research guidance on ethics, medical product development, and safety, the Declaration of Helsinki, and other guidelines which declare protection of life, human rights, and diversity of cultures.
The war in Ukraine delivered an unprecedented impact on the regional and global clinical research infrastructure and on the lives of current and future patients. Careful consideration for the ethics of research continuity during the current war may help to inform guidance for future responses in similar situations.
Many current guiding codes of ethics were established after detailed analysis and wide discussion of research that was clearly unethical and unacceptable. However, medical research in countries where military conflicts are taking place requires additional ethical attention and careful consideration. Previous human experience has shown that there is a high probability of developing negative tendencies and even unethical abuses in such situations. However, the research situation in Ukraine during this war is unlike previous ones. No one would say that the research itself is unethical. Nonetheless, these research studies are now taking place in a new challenging situation. We must reevaluate these projects taking into consideration the ongoing war.