The Moral Obligation to Participate in Biomedical Research Trials

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Omai's picture
The Moral Obligation to Participate in Biomedical Research Trials

A recent question in the field of bioethics asks whether we should have to participate in biomedical research. Do we have a moral obligation to do so, considering the advancements are for the good of mankind? No drug is made without extensive clinical trials.

On the surface, this sounds good to me. As a biomedical researcher, I can envision all people participating in the struggle against disease. Unfortunately, this oversimplifies the question and certain social parameters need to be taken into account to determine research participation. A new article in the American Journal of Bioethics outlines this discussion.

The paper claims that since there is not adequate funding to reimburse people injured in clinical trials, that certain groups in our society (the poor and minorities) benefit less from biomedical breakthroughs, and biomedical research does not necessarily focus on the diseases and problems that are most urgent to societal needs, there can be no moral obligation to participate in research.

The paper is expertly written and very informative. Even if you only have a passing interest in biomedical science, I would suggest giving it a read.

Here is the link:


Jason King
Jason King's picture
It's not just the people

It's not just the people injured in clinical trials that lose out. New medicines (especially anti-cancer drugs) are extremely expensive and anyone who does not have the best private health insurance will lose out.