Commentary | Open Access
Ethical Considerations for Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine Clinical Trials: A Cross-Cultural Perspective
Many ethical concerns revolve around the four basic principles of research: merit and integrity, respect for human beings, weighting of risk–benefit and justice. These principles form the basis for any discussion concerning human research ethics and are applicable to all areas of research including acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine. World Health Organisation document, Guidelines for Clinical Research on Acupuncture, states that ‘consideration should be given to the different value systems that are involved in human rights such as social, cultural and historical issues’ and that ‘further studies should be conducted in relation to ethical issues involved in clinical research on acupuncture’. In addition to outlining the four basic principles, this paper will also examine the effect of Asian culture on Western human research ethics and how this may impact upon issues such as informed consent and weighting of risk–benefit.
Copyright © 2010 Christopher Zaslawski. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.