Medical care and biomedical research are rapidly becoming global. Ethical questions that once arose only in the narrow context of the physician-patient relationship in relatively prosperous societies are now being raised across societies, cultures, and continents. For example, what should be the "standard of care" for clinical trials of medical innovations in poorer countries? Are researchers obligated to compare new therapies or drugs with the best known ones available, or can they use as a benchmark the actual treatments (or lack of treatments) available to poor people? Should pharmaceutical companies seeking to lower the costs of new drug trials be allowed to enrol citizens of less developed countries in them even when those individuals cannot afford and will not be eligible for the resulting drugs? More generally, should the norms of medicine and research be the same across cultures or can they adapt to local social, economic, or religious conditions? Global Bioethics gathers some of the world's leading bioethicists to explore many of the new questions raised by the globalization of medical care and biomedical research. Among the topics covered are the impact of globalization on the norms of medical ethics, the conduct of international research, the ethics of international collaborations, challenges to medical professionalism in the international setting, and the relation of religion to global bioethics.
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