Sharing human biobank samples and data in exchange for funding in South Africa in international collaborative health research – an ethicolegal analysis

M Maseme, S Mahomed


The development of biobanks over the years have raised ethico-legal controversies and concerns particularly in the context of cross-border transfers of human material. This is partly as a result of inadequacies in national and international regulations in addressing this crucial aspect of biobanking. It is common practice for South African biobanks and biobank researchers to seek funding from agencies that are independent of the biobank. These agencies often stipulate conditions requiring researchers to grant access to and share biomaterials and data as part of their agreements, in particular, in international collaborative health research. There is a need for the development of a national ethico-legal framework that addresses sharing of biomaterials and data where funding is concerned as a means of protecting against biobank sample exploitation as well as exploitation of researchers and participants.

Authors' affiliations

M Maseme, National Health Laboratory Service

S Mahomed, University of the Witwatersrand

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South African Journal of Bioethics and Law 2020;13(2):103. DOI:10.7196/SAJBL.2020.v13i2.00719

Article History

Date submitted: 2020-12-15
Date published: 2020-12-15

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