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Medical Trial Volunteers Guaranteed Rights and Protection
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Medical trial volunteers must be given full access to all trial research and results and be protected from intimidation, China's Ministry of Health has warned.

Volunteers must also be given complete confidentiality, the ministry ordered in a circular to health organizations.

"Trial patients must be volunteers, and should be respected and informed about the whole process, and able to withdraw at any stage," says the document of the ethics of human drug trial.

Patients involved in diagnostic research and studies on the prevention and treatment of diseases must also be protected and treated with respect, according to the circular.

The health and safety of volunteers must come before the scientific and social value of trials, and they are to be properly compensated and receive free treatment in the event of any problems.

Volunteers should be informed about the storage of their personal information, with extra care shown to vulnerable groups such as children, pregnant women, illiterate people, the poor and the mentally ill.

The ministry last year issued a regulation stipulating that organ donations must be on a voluntary basis and refuted foreign media reports that organs of executed prisoners were sold.

The Guangzhou-based Southern Weekly reported in October last year that the Shanghai East Hospital had been implicated of conducting medical trials on patients without their knowledge during heart operations.

The hospital denied the accusation and is to sue the newspaper for libel.

The case is to be heard next month.

(Xinhua News Agency January 27, 2007)


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