n South African Medical Journal - Biobank research : time for discussion and debate : forum - issues in medicine

Volume 103, Issue 4
  • ISSN : 0256-9574
  • E-ISSN: 2078-5135



The establishment of biobanks is gaining prominence globally. The open and evolving nature of biobanks has profound ethical, legal and social implications for individual and group autonomy, informed consent, privacy, confidentiality, secondary use of samples and data over time, return of results, data sharing, benefit sharing with communities, and premature or unplanned closure. Complexities also emerge because of increasing international collaborations, and differing national positions. Public consultation and involvement are very necessary to the success of biobanks. Implementing national laws in an internationally consistent manner is problematic.

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