A Normative Justification for Distinguishing the Ethics of Clinical Research from the Ethics of Medical Care

Journal of Law, Medicine and Ethics 33 (Fall 2005):566-74 (2005)
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In the research ethics literature, there is strong disagreement about the ethical acceptability of placebo-controlled trials, particularly when a tested therapy aims to alleviate a condition for which standard treatment exists. Recently, this disagreement has given rise to debate over the moral appropriateness of the principle of clinical equipoise for medical research. Underlying these debates are two fundamentally different visions of the moral obligations that investigators owe their subjects.Some commentators and ethics documents claim that physicians, whether acting as care givers or researchers, have the same duty of beneficence towards their patients and subjects: namely, that they must provide optimal medical care. In discussing placebo surgery in research on refractory Parkinson's disease, Peter Clark succinctly states this view: “The researcher has an ethical responsibility to act in the best interest of subjects.”



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Author Profiles

Paul Litton
University of Missouri, Columbia
Franklin Miller
Columbia University

References found in this work

What we owe to each other.Thomas Scanlon - 1998 - Cambridge: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.
What We Owe to Each Other.Thomas Scanlon - 2002 - Mind 111 (442):323-354.
Basic political writings.Jean-Jacques Rousseau - 2011 - Cambridge: Hackett Pub. Co.. Edited by Donald A. Cress.

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