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Institute of Biomedical Ethics and History of Medicine (IBME)

Ethical considerations for health policy and systems research

Valerie Luyckx and Nikola Biller-Andorno contributed to "Ethical considerations for health policy and systems research", a publication from the Alliance for Health Policy and Systems Research (WHO) with the Global Health Ethics Unit (WHO).

The field of HPSR and its conduct pose important challenges for both researchers and research ethics committees (RECs) about the interpretation and application of the principles for ethical conduct of health research to policy and systems research. For instance, when is a project health research and when is it health practice? Is research ethics review required for studies of existing policy decisions?

This document provides researchers and RECs with a series of “points to consider” for clear identification, consideration and communication of ethical issues in HPSR.

It is intended that, after reading this document, researchers will better understand relevant ethical issues in their HPSR study protocols and respond effectively to REC comments and questions; and REC members will be better able to identify aspects of an HPSR project that fall within its purview, identify ethical issues raised by the study and better communicate comments and questions to researchers.