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Ethics Commission to Investigate Hwang

Posted November. 30, 2005 07:19,   


The National Life Ethics Deliberation Commission, a presidential consultative body, has decided to investigate into the ethical controversy over the research team of the distinguished professor, Hwang Woo-suk.

On November 29, the commission held a news conference where it said it decided to make a final decision at the official meeting to be held on December 13 after reviewing documents requested to be submitted by the institute at the center of Hwang’s ethical controversy.

For that, a working-level team of three, led by its vice commissioner Cho Han-ik, a medical professor at the Seoul National University, was formed to request for the document submission. On the same day, 20 out of the total 21 members of the commission attended the conference (Seven officers from the government had their representatives attended for them).

Yang Sam-sung, a managing partner at Yoon & Yang, said, “According to the Enforcement Ordinance of Life Ethics Law Number Seven, requests will be made to the related institutes for related documents and opinions,” adding, “They would include four, namely, Hwang’s research team, Miz Medi Hospital, the Institutional Review Board (IRB) at Hanyang University, and the IRB at Seoul National University.”

The commission is to review the four points: the legal and ethical legitimacy of researchers’ ova donations; the legal and ethical legitimacy of giving money to ova providers; the appropriateness of IRB at Hanyang University having reviewed ethicality of ova donation; and the validity of procedures and methods of IRB at Seoul National University having investigated into the ethical controversy.

Commissioner Yang said on the same day, “The word investigation is not appropriate,” adding, “In order for the commission to make a conclusion on possible legal and ethical legitimacy, circumstantial facts need to be reviewed.”

He also said, “Rather than ethical standards at home, global standards will determine the results.” It remains to be seen whether a different conclusion would be drawn up from the IRB at the Seoul National University, which said the controversy over the researchers’ ova donation stems from “cultural differences between the East and the West.”

Hee-Kyung Kim susanna@donga.com