The Belmont Report
The Belmont report created on 18th April 1979 was drafted at the Belmont conference center, which is located 10 miles south of Baltimore. The report presents one of the key works about health care and ethics. Protection of participants and subjects in research studies or clinical trials is the key aim of the Belmont report. There are three principles incorporated in this report and these include respect for persons, justice and beneficence principle. The role of the Belmont report in establishment of ethical guidelines for experimentation and research will be examined.
The sole purpose of the Belmont report is presenting a guideline for resolving ethical issues that may arise in the course of conducting research using human subjects. The three discussion topics covered in the report are the basic ethical principles, boundaries between research and practice and finally the applications. Interventions necessary for improving the patients’ well-being are referred to as practice, whose key objective is provision of preventive treatment, diagnosis and promoting the patients’ well-being. Research has also been defined in the report, where it refers to acts whose key aim is to develop and increase insight in a particular field (National commission for the protection of biomedical and behavioral research, April 18, 1979).
The reports states the basic ethical guidelines and provisions, which are applicable when finding solutions regarding various problems arising due to conducting research using human subjects. The report makes sure that experiments and research studies are conducted in accordance to the ethical principles postulated. The first principle is that of respect whereby the independence of all persons has to be respected and experiments performed after getting consent from individual persons. This implies that it is unethical to perform research or experiments on persons without their consent (Chidress, Meslin and Shapiro, 2005).
The other principle if that of beneficence, which is a philosophical term referring to an act of doing no harm to other people. This implies that researchers ought to try as much as possible to minimize the risk of the human subjects used for research studies. Moreover, researchers have to assess the risks and benefits involved in order to determine the appropriateness of a given research study where human subjects are involved. Finally, there is the principle of justice, whereby procedures that are reasonable and well-considered have to be administered on fair terms. Consequently, it is ethically appropriate to share the cost and benefits associated with a given research study or experiment equally among all the research participants. The three principles form an integral part of the regulations governing protection of human subjects (Childress, et al, 2005).
Historical studies have shown that majority of researchers do not respect human subjects or research participants but treat them as objects of study. Although the Belmont report has for many years served the purpose of protecting human rights and laying down the fundamental principles to be followed, it has failed to achieve its goal in a few vulnerable situations. Moreover, there have been additional concerns regarding the use of human subjects in experimental research studies (Childress, et al, 2005).
In conclusion, education is the basis to promotion of local responsibility. Guidance and use of scientific resources are essential in order to meet all the ethical obligations and principles concerning research. All individuals and participants involved in research studies should be educated so that they can gain knowledge and insight regarding their different roles and expectations.
Chidress, J. F., Meslin, E. M., & Shapiro, H. T. (2005). Belmont revisited. Ethical principles with human subjects. GeorgetownUniversity Press
National commission for the protection of biomedical and behavioral research. (April 18, 1979). The Belmont report. Ethical principles for the protection of human subjects of research. The Commission