The high price of many proprietary software programs designed for specific fields severely hampers the efforts of professionals in developing nations. This is particularly true in the case of clinical trials. One problem is data management. International standards regarding clinical trials are quite stringent and sending data elsewhere for processing not only removes a key component of the trial process from the hands of researchers, but adds considerable cost, time, and logistical difficulties to efforts. This problem widens the already considerable gulf in the development of new drugs and treatments for the neglected diseases so prevalent and devastating outside of wealthy nations. Several reports and conference touch points have dealt with this issue recently. The push has been to encourage international donors to support and encourage the use of open-source database systems. This effort dovetails nicely with the recent trend in biomedical research for scientific output to be published in free open-access journals. The combination of these efforts should lead to a variety of new research into neglected areas and the potential to test solutions with the populations which will actually utilize them. A consensus seems to be arising about the ethics of withholding and limiting access to information critical for healthy social, technological, and medical development.

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