Comparing Guidelines on Biobanks: Emerging Consensus and Unresolved Controversies

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Published by the Geneva International Academic Network, 2005. Bryant users may access this article here.


Geneva International Academic Network


In this paper, we present a comparative analysis (conducted in 2004-2005) of twenty seven policies on biobanks. The paper is structured around the three separate stages of the biobanking process (collection, storage and use of both human biological samples and data) and for each stage, we then focus on salient issues that have been debated by scholars and have been addressed by the drafters of the policies we compare. Although consensus exists on few issues and solutions, our conclusion is that existing policies do not address in sufficient detail, or do not agree on, a number of important issues raised by biobanking activities. Therefore, much empirical and theoretical work has to be done on this topic in order to highlight possible areas of disagreement on the different principles and policy arrangements and to clarify the terminology that the guidelines adopt.