Biobank research: Time for discussion and debate

A Dhai, S Mahomed


The establishment of biobanks is gaining prominence globally. The open and evolving nature of biobanks has profound ethical, legal and social implications for individual and group autonomy, informed consent, privacy, confidentiality, secondary use of samples and data over time, return of results, data sharing, benefit sharing with communities, and premature or unplanned closure. Complexities also emerge because of increasing international collaborations, and differing national positions. Public consultation and involvement are very necessary to the success of biobanks. Implementing national laws in an internationally consistent manner is problematic.

Authors' affiliations

A Dhai, Steve Biko Centre for Bioethics, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg

S Mahomed, Specialist in Biotechnology Law

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Cite this article

South African Medical Journal 2013;103(4):225-227. DOI:10.7196/SAMJ.6813

Article History

Date submitted: 2013-02-18
Date published: 2013-03-01

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