The Ancillary-Care Responsibilities of Researchers: Reasonable but Not Great Expectations

Journal of Law, Medicine and Ethics 35 (4):679-691 (2007)
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Abstract

It is axiomatic that the first responsibility of researchers, whether they are working in the developed or the developing world, is to do no harm to those who participate in their studies or trials. However, on neither side of the Atlantic is there any such settled view with regard to the responsibility of researchers to attend to the ancillary-care needs of their participants – that is, a responsibility to advise or assist participants who have medical condition X in circumstances where the research concerns medical condition Y, and the research did not contribute to the presence of condition X in participants, nor did the having of condition X contribute to the research. Consider, for example, the following hypothetical posed by Leah Belsky and Henry Richardson:Researchers testing a new treatment for tuberculosis in a developing country discover some patients have HIV infection. Do they have a responsibility to provide antiretroviral drugs?

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