Bioethics, Politics and Business

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In the decision-making involving biosciences and biotechnology, both politicians and the general public have come to increasingly rely on different kinds of experts and specialised bodies. Interest groups such as industry, religious authorities and consumer organisations also try to influence political decision-making, and the role of the media has not always been - it is claimed - as neutral as the public perceives it to be. At the same time, according to the democratic ideal, ultimate power should rest with the parliamentarians and with the people. Who has the power in decision-making in biotechnology? Can there be legitimate expertise in bioethics? How can we improve the power balance? These are some of the questions this book seeks to answer. The book is divided into three parts. The first part presents articles dealing with the role of biopolitics and the expert bodies in relation to the democratic ideal. The second part looks at the special role of the media in relation to decision-making in bioethics and biopolitics. The third part of the book looks at the links between the biotechnology industry and bioethical decision-making.



Research Ethics Committees: Their Role, Opinion Formation and Justification

It is not an exaggeration to say that the most important mechanism for dealing with ethical problems in scientific research today is the preview of research protocols by the ethics committee. Research ethics committees (hereafter RECs) in their contemporary form emerged in the late 1970s and 1980s in response to the growing need for a formal and more unified means to address ethical issues in clinical and health care settings. Until recently, European RECs have been dominantly (bio)medical research ethics committees. Only a few ethics committees are obliged to concentrate on non-medical (e.g. sociological) health research, if the issues considered are not closely related to medical research.


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