'Moral taint' or ethical responsibility? Unethical information and the problem of HIV clinical trials in developing countries

Journal of Applied Philosophy 15 (3):231–239 (1998)
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Clinical trials in developing countries are often beset by ethical problems that would be considered unresolvable in countries like Australia and the U.S. Nevertheless, such trials continue to go ahead throughout Asia, Africa and South America, and are often conducted in ways that could be considered to be unethical. In this article I discuss two issues, focussing on an HIV preventative trial of a vaginal gel, the Nonoxynol 9 phase three trial being held in Kenya. The first of these is what makes such a trial unethical given that it has approval from the WHO and seemingly conforms with acceptable standards of consent. The second issue involves using material from such trials, if we accept that they were conducted unethically.



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