Statement on the Upholding of Ethical Standards in Research

A number of outstanding local scholars have reached out to the Philippine Health Research Ethics Board to express disappointment over the apparent ability of foreign-based academics to (1) circumvent provisions of the Philippine National Health Research System (PNHRS ) Act and of our National Ethical Guidelines for Health and Health-Related Research while conducting studies involving human participants in our country and (2) have their results published in foreign journals even in the face of the authors' confirmed ethical transgressions.


We wish to assure everyone that notwithstanding such transgressions, we will continue to uphold the highest ethical standards that our local scholars have adhered to in their studies, whether inside or outside the country. We will continue to be guided by the principle that "while the primary purpose of medical research is to generate new knowledge, this goal can never take precedence over the rights and interests of individual research subjects." (Declaration of Helsinki, Guideline #8) We are thankful for the support being given by other government agencies and organizations in respect of the principle that the ends of academic research and publications cannot justify the use of unethical means.


We assert our right to conduct local ethics review of foreign-funded research, consistent with Article 21 of the Universal Declaration on Bioethics and Human Rights: `When research is undertaken or otherwise pursued in one or more States (the host State(s)) and funded by a source in another State, such research should be the object of an appropriate level of ethical review in the host State(s) and the State in which the funder is located" and with Guideline 23 of the WHO - Council for Intemational Organizations of Medical Sciences International Ethical Guidelines for Health-related Research Involving Humans (CIOMS 2016) stating that "in externally sponsored research, the ethical review must take place in both the host and the sponsoring institution." Our ethics review of research will continue to be done within the framework of our national guidelines and our system for the accreditation of ethics review committees, in keeping with the Philippine National Health Research System Act of 2013 and compliant with Guideline 8 of CIOMS 2016 stating that "it is the responsibility of governmental authorities in charge of health-related research involving human participants to ensure that such research is reviewed ethically and scientifically by competent and independent research ethics committees . ..."


We reiterate our appreciation for the dedication shown by members of ethics review committees in promoting respect for human research participants and the ethical principles that protect the participants' interests. We also express our admiration for scholars in the PNHRS who have been committed to scientific integrity and the responsible conduct of research.

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