Karachi Bioethics Group Meetings 2005

Host of the Year 2005 – Patel Hospital

The objectives of KBG that were formulated include providing a platform for discussions of ethical issues relevant to Pakistan, improving” knowledge of bioethics, sharing and areas, tapping common resources for self-education, and also helping to increase general awareness of the public about ethical issues. It was decided that the membership of the group would be on an individual basis and membership criteria were kept simple to encourage participation. Essentially anyone interested in issues of bioethics could join, but in order to retain membership and be included on the email list, attending a sufficient number of meetings was made mandatory.

A member from Patel Hospital offered to host the meetings for the first year. Some of the topics taken up for discussion this year included “informed consent”, “stem cell research”, and also “physicians and pharmaceutical relationships in Pakistan”,

As one of the objectives of the KBG is public awareness, the group decided to issue a press release, which was published in Daily Business Recorder and The News, voicing their concern over the commercialization of experimental technology, “retro-differentiation of stem cells,” by Tristem Corporation as a therapeutic modality for a wide spectrum of ailments. The press release expressed concern about the fact that Tristem Corporation had been asked to halt similar activities in India just a few months before they moved to Pakistan, and this news had been covered by several newspapers and journals including the BMJ. The press release stressed that the claims of the therapeutic utility of retro-differentiation made by the company were unsubstantiated by human studies conducted anywhere in the world and that the company was actually experimenting on human subjects under the guise of therapy.

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