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[Correspondence] Good intentions do not replace ethical conduct in research

The Dutch disciplinary tribunal officially warned two Dutch physicians following their study with a Kenyan collaborator on the efficacy of the homeopathic substance Iquilai (“a potentised mineral supplement”) in 228 patients with HIV/AIDS in Kenya.1–3 The case was brought forward by the Dutch Health Inspectorate that launched an investigation into the practice of the two involved physicians. The tribunal deemed the study incompatible with basic medical ethical principles for research on human beings, as specified in the World Medical Association’s Declaration of Helsinki: the study did not have a proper study protocol, risk assessment, or ethics approval.