Trends in Health Research Ethics in the Philippines During the American Colonial Period (1898-1946)

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Research involving human participants has been conducted in the Philippines since the beginning of the Spanish colonial period. Such studies are expected to adhere to internationally accepted ethical guidelines. This paper discusses trends in clinical research ethics in the Philippines during the American colonial period (1898‐1946). Specifically, studies were assessed on: 1) their observance of ethical protocols, including review; 2) identification of inclusion and exclusion criteria in the selection of participants; 3) use of vulnerable subjects; and 4) practice of the informed consent process. Only the informed consent process had a significant logistic correlation with progression of years. Recruitment of vulnerable groups was common during this period; children and prisoners were the most common participants. Trends in medical ethics in the Philippines reflected those in the United States prior to the publication of the Nuremberg Code, which served as a milestone in the protection of human welfare in clinical research.