PHREB orients DOST officials on the conduct of ethical research

The Philippine Health Research Ethics Board (PHREB) underscores the importance of conducting ethics review to uphold the rights of human participants in research during its orientation among officials from the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and its line agencies last 11 August 2020.

Facilitated by Dr. Leonardo de Castro and Dr. Marita Reyes, current and former PHREB chairs, the orientation covers research ethics review processes, scope of ethics review, as well as the possible consequences if the processes are disregarded.

Dr. Reyes discussed ethics review as a systematic process which assesses several factors in research, such as its social value, informed consent processes, management of vulnerability, risks, and benefits, among others.

Dr. de Castro tackled ethical research conflicts, in line with the rise of advanced technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), as well as the emergence of pressing health problems such as COVID-19.

In his opening remarks, DOST Secretary Fortunato T. dela Peña assures that the agency upholds the significance of adhering to ethical guidelines even as the country mobilizes its capacities against the pandemic. “During this COVID-19 pandemic, our people and our policymakers look up to science and innovation to stem the virus' transmission, to save lives, to energize the economy. While we are called to work faster in providing the needed solutions, DOST commits that we will always uphold the rights of human participants in research—there is no short-cut,” he says.

As the secretariat of PHREB, the event was co-organized by the Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (DOST-PCHRD). “We hope that through this event, we are all reminded that protecting the rights and welfare of human participants in research is equally important as our duty to bring science to the people through research and development (R&D),” DOST-PCHRD Executive Director Jaime Montoya says.

PHREB is the country’s policy-making body which ensures the adherence of research projects to ethical guidelines for the protection of the rights, welfare, and well-being of human participants in research.