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Ethics in Eye Banking: Understanding Professional Attitudes Toward Industry Changes.

Authors
  • Ahmad, Samera1
  • Vong, Gerard2
  • Pentz, Rebecca D1, 2, 3
  • Dixon, Margie3
  • Davis, Keenan W1
  • Khalifa, Yousuf M1, 4
  • 1 School of Medicine, Emory University, Atlanta, GA.
  • 2 Center for Ethics, Emory University, Atlanta, GA.
  • 3 Winship Cancer Institute, Atlanta, GA.
  • 4 Department of Ophthalmology, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, GA.
Type
Published Article
Journal
Cornea
Publication Date
Oct 01, 2020
Volume
39
Issue
10
Pages
1207–1214
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1097/ICO.0000000000002296
PMID: 32118673
Source
Medline
Language
English
License
Unknown

Abstract

To describe the ethical attitudes of corneal surgeons and eye bank leadership toward for-profit entities in corneal donation, processing, and distribution. Fifty postfellowship corneal surgeons practicing in the United States and 25 eye bank leaders (eg, eye bank directors, CEOs, or presidents) for the Eye Bank Association of America-accredited eye banks completed a 22-question interview, focusing on corneal donation industry changes, including the entry of for-profit institutions. Most participants in both study groups agreed that they have concerns with the entry of for-profit businesses into eye banking (62% corneal surgeons, 68% eye bank leadership), although physicians partnered with a for-profit corneal processor were significantly more likely to have no concerns with the entry of for-profits into eye banking than corneal surgeons partnered with a nonprofit processor (P = 0.04). The most frequently identified concerns with the entry of for-profit businesses into corneal banking were the hypothetical loss of donor trust (56% corneal surgeons, 64% eye bank leadership, P = 0.04) and the potential exploitation of donor generosity (72% corneal surgeons, 60% eye bank leadership). Qualitative theme analysis suggests that both study groups may view increased research/innovation as a potential benefit (64% corneal surgeons, 66% eye bank leadership) of for-profits in eye banking. Key stakeholders in eye banking do hold relevant ethical beliefs toward recent industry changes, and these attitudes should be considered in the future creation of the ethical corneal donation policy. Further research is needed to assess the attitudes of potential donors and donor families.

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