Monthly Archives: December 2006

The Facts Regarding Ethical Issues with Alternative Therapies

Martin Richfield asked:

No matter what the ailment, condition, or disease, every patient has the right to choice regarding the treatment, even if this means not taking treatment that could be life saving. There are always concerns with having any treatment or taking any medications. Ethical issues with alternative therapies do not necessarily have to be looked at in a negative way.

In fact ethical issues regarding alternative therapies should be thought about as merely just another piece of information to allow patients to make their mind up about the treatments. Any information, positive or negative, surrounding a treatment is a positive thing for the patient. Knowledge is always necessary when making decisions about treatments. Alternative therapies are often used instead of traditional treatments, but are also used frequently in combination with traditional treatments. Therefore, there is knowledge regarding the therapies, the use of the therapies, and how they can affect the traditional treatment.

Some of the existing ethical issues with alternative therapies exist specifically around the area of diet pills and supplements. The concerns about taking supplements of any kind are that they are not regulated like food and prescription drugs are. They can word things differently and market them differently.

However, equipped with this knowledge people seeking the use of a diet supplement or any herbal supplement are less likely to jump into taking something without doing the necessary added research. In addition, some of the treatments and therapists that administer the treatments are not governed or regulated by any national body. Therefore, qualifications are unknown or not met. With this information people can research the technique as well as the technician and can make a decision based upon the credentials that are found.

Ethical issues with alternative therapies definitely come into play when people involved closely with the traditional medical system, for instance a stay in the hospital, who want to use alternative therapies. The nurses, nursing aids, as well as the other medical staff, have to be aware of the interactions between the two types of medical treatment.

Therefore, the knowledge regarding the ethical issues with alternative therapies as well as the benefits and consequences need to be known by the patient and medical professionals. Ethical issues with alternative therapies are just another tool for people to equip themselves with before making a decision about their health and the treatment. Alternative therapies are often an excellent way to gain some relief from a condition or illness when there is the possibility of religious or other belief system values preventing traditional medical treatments.

Ethical Principles in Clinical Research

Raghav asked:

Ethical principles in clinical research


Clinical research is defined as trials that evaluate an investigational drug, biological, or medical device on patients in a strictly, scientifically controlled setting in order to test the safety and efficacy of an experimental entity. Clinical research involves controlled use of humans in medical experiments.  As clinical research involves human participants there is a risk of them getting exploited in the name of science, hence sponsors and investigators are legally and ethically obligated to protect them.

In clinical practice a physicians use interventions (medications) that are designed to cure a disease and with the sole purpose of enhancing the wellbeing of an individual. But, clinical research is designed to test a new medication, its effectiveness, to answer useful questions about human health, diseases and it cure.  Here, the participant in a clinical trial may not get the best available treatment and therefore the responsibility of investigator towards the subject s are more.

The Declaration of Helsinki by World Medical Assembly forms the basis of ethical guidelines for clinical research today. It involves 32 principles and informed consent is an essential requirement for ethical conduct of a clinical trial. Also the declaration clearly specifies that “all protocols must be submitted to an ethics committee for review, which must be independent of the investigator, the sponsor or any other kind of undue influence”.

The Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) Ethical Guidelines for Biomedical Research on Human subjects expects that all institutions in India which carry out any form of research involving human beings should follow the guidelines to protect the safety and wellbeing of all subjects.

A subject taking part in any clinical trial is protected by a written informed consent and ethics committee review. A question generally asked is that- which type of research needs ethics review? Clearly any trial involving humans must be carried out with permission from an ethics committee. It could experimental study involving a new drug or new device or a “simple” questionnaire-based study, in normal subjects or in patients, as long as it involves humans, the investigator must obtain ethics committee permission. If the trial has to be internationally acceptable, papers have to conform to these guidelines.

The application of human values and moral rules to research is ethics. There are very few arguments against the need of ethical review of protocols before starting the research involving humans.


Take a Look at the Issue of Ethics and Medicine

mahendra asked:

The issue of ethics and medicine is very difficult to raise, greatly by Dr S G Kabra, who is a medical practioner, is unusual in that he is very consistently giving a look at the anomalies in the medical profession. In “Medicine Deranged”, he looks at the process through which the public health system has been associated by the powerful, while the private sector is not accessible to the poor. He suggests that there is a parallel between the co-option of the medical profession by the State in India, and medical practice under the Nazis.  The office of graduate studies is located on the university of kansas medical center campus in kansas city and is a unit of the office of academic affairs.

Australia is one of the prominent destinations for students wanting to study abroad. Every year, the number of students want to study in Australia is rising due to the better quality of education, life and job opportunities which rising day by day.  Universities and Colleges in Australia also offer a various diplomas, degree courses of which the Masters Degree takes either 1 or 2 years, and the Doctoral Degree takes about 3 years to complete.  Many Indian students want to study in Singapore and enjoy learning in one of the world’s leading international and commercial hubs. Overseas students wanting to study in Singapore can either apply directly to the universities or can apply via education agents. Applications are accepted all year round by the universities and are subject to the availability of vacancy.

There are particular subjects in Medical Standards which stretches on the theme of medical practice and standardized situations.  It possesses real-life circumstances which raise many questions. Cases includes questions of confidentiality in sensitive areas such as HIV and pre-marital pregnancies; weighing the right to work against the risks of infection, in the case of a person with tuberculosis. The cases include the responsibility of doctors to keep or maintain some secrecy.

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Why We Should Promote Ethical Leadership Today

Muna wa Wanjiru asked:

Leaders of today often spread hatred among various communities in order to project themselves as a champion of a particular community. This is a very dangerous situation.  Leaders are people who have the capability to galvanize people for some specific purpose.  If the purpose is constructive, it goes on to create a just society where people live in harmony but if the leaders have some sinister motives then it would bring mayhem in the society.  So today, it is very imperative that ethical leadership should be promoted.   

Let us understand what actually ethical leadership is. Ethical leadership is about having certain standards and principles.  Here a leader just does not lead but he always monitors his activity seeing whether he is keeping up the standards or is he deviating from the set standards.  He is ready to suffer loss but he is not ready to compromise with his principles.  Today it is very much required in the corporate world. Today companies hide their actual financial position to lure the investors.  So it is imperative that ethical leadership should gain momentum in the corporate world.

Communication should not just serve as a means for conveying a message but the communication should be ethical also.  Enron of USA cheated the public by not disclosing their actual financial position.  So it is important that the industries’ should always state what is right though it might be bitter.  Political leaders’ too should refrain from hurting the sentiments of other communities.  They should promote tolerance among various communities. 

Leadership also means that giving the best to the public.  In business, it is not just the shareholders and customers who should be taken care of but the business should focus on entire society including the biosphere.  Ethics demand that customers should get product of best quality at appropriate rate and there should be no alteration in it.  Motive should not be only profit but the motive should also be to serve the customers.  Corporate social responsibility is today being practiced by most of the organization.  Here the companies use their capital for some social cause such as for child education, AIDS etc. It is a good practice and even the government is encouraging it.

Ethical leadership also demands that leaders, whether they are from industry or from other sectors, should have a broader outlook.  They should not surround themselves with yes men and take decisions based on their advice.  Leaders should have a proper succession planning wherein the other people are groomed as leaders so that they can take the charge once the incumbent departs.   This prevents the void, which often creates havoc in any organization.  Leaders should also occupy the office for a particular tenure after which they should voluntarily step out paving way for others. Such practices in the political as well as corporate world will help in creating a better environment where people will live together without any hatred.

Ethics And The Internet

Jonathon Hardcastle asked:

The focus of ethics and the Internet (E&I) research is directed on peoples’ actions rather than mere technology itself. At great human and economic cost, resources drawn from governments, industry and the academic communities have been assembled into a collection of interconnected networks called the Internet. Begun as a vehicle for experimental network research in the mid-1970’s, the Internet has become an important national infrastructure supporting an increasingly widespread, multi-disciplinary community of researchers ranging from computer scientists and electrical engineers to mathematicians, medical researchers, astronomers and space scientists.

As is true of other common infrastructures (e.g., roads, water reservoirs and delivery systems, and the power generation and distribution network), there is widespread dependence on the Internet by its users for the support of day-to-day activities. The reliable operation of the Internet, and the responsible use of its resources, is of common interest and concern for its users, operators and sponsors. Network infrastructures underscore the need to reiterate the professional responsibility every Internet user bears to colleagues and to the sponsors of the system. Abuse of the system thus, becomes a matter above and beyond simple professional ethics.

Different articles focus on the dilemma various groups of people share, when they identify a misdoing that a firm has performed. Internet risk takers who feel the need of greed commit the actions mainly illustrated as unethical behavior. For example, CEOs and founders sell their stock early making sure they get their cut of the bonanza -no matter what signal that sends to their public-market investors.

Today, everyone admits that information is power. This old maxim has become more and more pertinent in our modern information society. The development of information technology has been dashing and, if future predictions are anything to go by, the pace of change will only increase. Ethical and moral issues in computer ethics are among the most vital social aspects of information technology. Currently, there are two major problems in the area. First, inconsistent moral behavior has been documented, which leads to immoral acts such as virus creation and capital theft. Second, lack of awareness concerning information technology’s security has created a variety of IT-related crimes. Not even IT experts have an adequate knowledge of computer ethics, though there is every indication that ethics should be a part of their professional baggage. As for the development of ethical skills, it is not just a matter of education; rather, it is an on-going process that every professional should be aware of.

Educational institutions play an important role in this respect. In addition to imparting technical knowledge, they should also teach computer ethics. Educational issues and ethical awareness are important as they provide the motivation for complying with learned ethical principles. Ethical decision-making formulas and applicable theories are helpful for sharing information about the application of ethics. This information can then be disseminated by educational institutions. The volume of research in the area is constantly increasing, supplying up-to-date information about ethical and moral ‘traps’ and prescriptive codes for dealing with new dilemmas. Professionals must have the capability to make broad-minded, objective ethical decisions. They also have to do their best to create a working environment and foster an atmosphere where ethical dilemmas can be discussed openly, objectively and constructively.

Ethics against Alternative Medicines Not Necessarily Reasonable

Martin Richfield asked:

Ethics can be defined as a philosophical mentality of right conduct and good living. Ethics in medicine are typically about what is appropriate practice and inappropriate practice. It defines specifics about what is allowed in the workplace, in the profession, and with clients.

However, the medical field is in fact, a business. Just like alternative medicines is a business. In fact, they are somewhat competing businesses. They are each other’s competition. Ethics against alternative medicines are typically produced and written by people in the traditional medical field. Therefore, the information that is read should be looked at with a grain of salt.

Ethics against alternative medicines should be analyzed by using the information about who wrote the article, what their objective might be, and where they produced the information. Of course some of the information may be true and in that case, the information should be available on many different places or by the alternative medicines companies as well.

The other concern with ethics against alternative medicines is that their root may be founded in different countries and different cultures. Just because something is different does not mean that it is less. The ethics against alternative medicines should be analyzed clearly. The ethics in any profession should be governed and determined by that profession.

The medical field has been around for a really long time and therefore has had centuries to come up with their code of ethics. The area of alternative therapies is a relatively new field within the United States and therefore needs some more time for each of the different elements of that field to develop a code of ethics. The countries in which the alternative medicines have originated are not necessarily governed with the same standards as the United States and therefore have never determined a set of standards. This does not necessarily mean that they are not as effective.

The ethics against alternative medicines should not try and deter people from accessing these services. If someone wishes to publish information regarding specific therapies, then it should be information that is set out in a way to help the consumer, not to tell the consumer what the best decision is. The people accessing treatments are smart and capable of weight the pros and cons and making reasonable decisions. There are definitely elements of the field of alternative medicines that do have codes of conduct and ethics. For example, psychology and chiropractic medicine definitely have standards, as well as acupuncture and acupressure.

They just may not meet the same standards as the traditional medical profession. The ironic thing is that traditional medicine in China and other places are alternative medicines in America. So that leaves the question, what makes medicine traditional or alternative?

Health Care Ethics: Paramount To Good Health Care

Roland Jefferson III asked:

This interesting article addresses some of the key issues regarding health care ethics. A careful reading of this material could make a big difference in how you think about health care ethics.

You can see that there’s practical value in learning more about medical care management. Can you think of ways to apply what’s been covered so far?

When you’re learning about something new, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the sheer amount of relevant information available. This informative article should help you focus on the central points.

If you base what you do on inaccurate information, you might be unpleasantly surprised by the consequences. Make sure you get the whole medical care ethics story from informed sources.

Many people don’t ever think about health care ethics when they visit their doctor’s office or hospital. That’s more than likely because all of their health care providers practice good health ethics. That means that they care for their patients without prejudice, without malice and they do whatever they do with the best interest of the patient in mind. Health ethics are important to every aspect of the health care industry, from ambulance drivers to heart and brain surgeons. Without medical ethics, the world as we know it would be drastically different, with everyone frightened to go to the doctor or the hospital for fear of their own safety and well being.

A Frightening Thought

What if you went to your doctor and you were never told about a certain drug that could help your ailments merely because he or she wanted you to keep coming back, which would require an office visit fee each time? Or, what if you went for a physical exam and were fondled? Or, what if your doctor tried a new experimental technique on you without you knowing about it and you ended up disabled or worse? Any one of these things would enrage most people and rightfully so. You now see why health care ethics are so important.

When doctors and other medical professionals get their individual licenses to practice whatever form of medical care they are educated in, they must take an oath stating that they will promise to practice good medical care management. This is meant to protect the patient from any unethical practices, which would give health protection in general a very bad name. It’s important for anyone practicing any aspect of health care to have good health care ethics. The patients, after all, pay their salaries so it’s important to treat them with care and the utmost respect.

However, just because an oath is taken, doesn’t mean that all doctors and health care providers are ethical. There are always a few bad eggs in the bunch. You need to watch out for any questionable health care ethics practiced by your health care provider. If you notice anything you are uncomfortable about, tell someone immediately. Most health care providers do practice good medical care so you should rest easy knowing that you are in good hands whenever you visit your local doctor or hospital.

That’s the latest from the health management authorities. Once you’re familiar with these ideas, you’ll be ready to move to the next level.

Don’t limit yourself by refusing to learn the details about medical care standards. The more you know, the easier it will be to focus on what’s important.

The Truth About Ethical Leadership

Akhil Shahani asked:

Leadership is a relationship between leaders and followers. The foundation of this relationship is trust. Ethics refer to the principles that define behavior as right, good and proper. There is an inextricable link between leadership and ethics. Leaders must themselves be ethical in their decisions and actions in order to influence others to behave accordingly.

Without a common set of values, an organization is merely a collection of individuals coexisting (perhaps uneasily) within common boundaries. A well defined value system creates a common understanding within the group of what constitutes acceptable behavior.

This piece helps you understand the essence of ethical leadership and the ways in which you can practice it. You might also like to check out and for more on this subject.

Value sharing: As an ethical leader, it is your responsibility to set the standard of truth. Since you are the one in control, you can set the benchmarks for doing business the right way. However, leading by example may not be sufficient by itself. You need to pass on a clear message to the rest of your organization about the standards they must adhere to.

Share your knowledge and values throughout the organization for its benefit. A company value statement is en effective way of reinforcing the message.

Quality orientation: Business ethics is all about providing value for the customers and other stakeholders. That’s why a quality policy must be part of the company’s DNA. It is your responsibility to champion this cause, and drive the quality program throughout your firm. Well respected organizations like GE have demonstrated ethical leadership by pursuing a relentless quality ethic.

Openness: It is but natural that leaders will depend upon a core advisor group for key decisions. Often, this group is small and creates a coterie, which is not necessarily in the larger interests of the organization. Ethical leadership is all about a more open collaboration between different members. A larger and more fluid influencing group, put together depending on the needs of a specific situation is likely to result in a more unbiased decision making process.

Participation: Although you have the power to take decisions, allow your employees to contribute to the process. Support and guide your team members wherever necessary, so that they will be able to utilize their capabilities to the fullest. Adopting this practice of ethical leadership is especially effective when you wish to implement change or minimize risk.

Succession planning: All leaders, including independent entrepreneurs must plan on handing over the reins someday to a worthy candidate. This is not an overnight process. Succession planning is an integral part of ethical leadership, and must begin during the current leader’s tenure. Potential leaders must be identified, guided and trained to take charge in future. Closely linked to this is the question of how long a leader must stay at the helm of affairs. Regardless of a mandatory retirement age, an ethical leader must choose to stay on only as long as the community around him feels that this is in the larger interests of the organization. Self serving considerations must be put aside, while deciding on this issue.

A common misconception is that ethical leadership is “soft”. Nothing could be further from the truth. An ethical leader can wield as much authority and influence as any other. What makes him stand out is that he does not lose sight of the organization’s cherished values in the process of leading.