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Bad News about Bad News: The Disclosure of Risks to Insurability in Research Consent Processes

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One of the phenomena associated with research is “incidental findings,” that is, unexpected findings made during the research, and outside the scope of the research, which have potential health importance. One underappreciated risk of incidental findings is the potential loss of the research subject's insurability; or if a research subject fails to disclose incidental findings when applying for insurance, the insurance contract may be voidable by the insurer. In this article, we seek to explain the insurability risks associated with incidental findings and to make recommendations for how researchers and research ethics committees should address the issue of disclosure of these risks.

Keywords: consent; incidental findings; insurability risks; neuroethics; research ethics

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Faculties of Law and Medicine, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada

Publication date: January 1, 2011

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