The irrelevance of equipoise

Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 32 (2):167 – 183 (2007)
It is commonly believed in research ethics that some form of equipoise is a necessary condition for justifying randomized clinical trials, that without it clinicians are violating the moral duty to do what is best for the patient. Recent criticisms have shown how complex the concept of equipoise is, but often retain the commitment to some form of equipoise for randomization to be justified. This article rejects that claim. It first asks for what one should be equally poised (scientific or clinical equipoise), then asks who should be equally poised (scientist, clinician, or subject), and finally asks why any of these players need be equally poised between treatment options. The article argues that only the subject's evaluation of the options is morally relevant and that even the subject need not be equally poised or indifferent between the options in order to volunteer for randomization. All that is needed is adequately informed, free, and unexploited consent. It concludes equipoise is irrelevant.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1080/03605310701255776
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 23,209
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA
Scott Gelfand (2013). Clinical Equipoise: Actual or Hypothetical Disagreement? Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 38 (6):590--604.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

21 ( #222,398 of 1,940,986 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

2 ( #333,940 of 1,940,986 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.