In light of previous exploitation, less developed countries, understandably,
are suspicious of any effort that weakens in the name of scientific progress
the highly-valued notions of individual autonomy and informed consent.
When researchers import human biological specimens for the purposes of
research which will benefit those in developed countries, the charge of
scientific imperialism is automatically levelled. Using three countries in
Africa as a starting point for the study, the article examines the consent and
authorisation requirements for the export of human biological specimens,
gathered from health research in the developing world, for subsequent
research projects in the developed world. The article concludes that there is
an urgent need to strengthen the ethical and legal framework in Africa
which governs consent to, and authorisation of the export and use of human
biological specimens for future research.