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Development of an Issues Paper on the Commercialisation of Human Tissue Products

The Australian Health Ethics Committee (AHEC) has established a Working Committee to develop an issues paper on the Commercialisation of Human Tissue Products. The paper is currently entitled Ethics and the exchange, sale of and profit from products derived from human tissue.


In March 2007, the NHMRC endorsed guidelines on organ and tissue donation. The guidelines noted that there is a need for continuing community debate and legislative oversight over the area of commercialism in tissue banking. The matter was referred to the Australian Health Ethics Committee (AHEC) to consider the ethical issues at its meeting in October 2006, and it was agreed that this issue should be addressed as part of AHEC’s work program for the 2006-2009 triennium.

At its meeting of 28 August 2007, AHEC decided to develop an issues paper on ethical issues involved in the commercialisation of human tissue, including biobanks and products derived from human tissue. A working committee has been established to draft the Issues Paper.

The purpose of this Issues Paper is to identify ethical issues in the commercialisation of human tissue including biobanks and products derived from human tissue.

Commercialisation of Human Tissue Working Committee Membership

A/Prof Nicholas Tonti-Filippini (Chair)

AHEC member 2006-2009 Triennium

Dr Nikolajs Zeps

AHEC member 2006-2009 and 2009-2012 Triennium

Ms Sharon Caris

AHEC member 2006-2009 Triennium

Prof Stephen Cordner, AM

Nominee of Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia

Dr Neil Boyce

Nominee of the Australian Red Cross Blood Service

Prof Douglas Coster

Nominee of the Eye Bank Association of Australia and New Zealand

Prof Jeremy Chapman OA

Nominee of the Cognate Committee on Organ and Tissue Donation and Transplantation.

A/Prof Ngiare Brown

Nominee of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health and Research Advisory Committee

Ms Avis McPhee

Nominee of the Consumers’ Health Forum


The Working Committee expects to publish the completed Issues Paper by the end of the current triennium (June 2009).

Issues paper & release for public comment

The Working Committee and AHEC released a draft paper for consultation in April 2009. The consultation period for this paper has now closed but is still available for download:

Public Consultation April - May 2009 Submissions

Final Issues Paper

A plain language statement and a link to the final issues paper is available from the link below.

Contact for further information

For more information please contact the Project Officer:

Postal address:

Project Officer – Commercialisation of Human Tissue
Health and Research Ethics Section
Research Translation - Canberra
GPO Box 1421
Canberra ACT 2601

Email address:


Page last updated on 14 November 2013