Monthly Archives: January 2012

Human enhancement as a concern in clinical practice – Myth or Reality? An ethics workshop coming up soon in London.

The next meeting organised by the Intermural Student Bioethics Network (ISBN) at KCL with the Royal Society of Medicine Open Section will be focused on the ethics of human enhancement in clinical practice and will take place on March 15, … Continue reading

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A ‘contextualized’ reply to Wendler’s new justification for pediatric research devoid of therapeutic benefits.

David Wendler just published a target article on AJOB where he presents new arguments for pediatric clinical research that offers no therapeutic benefits to the participating children. Wendler argues that research on children devoid on therapeutic benefits can be justified—provided that the risks for the participants are low—on the basis of two considerations: (i) Participating in clinical research is contributing to a valuable project and (ii) contributing to a valuable project is in any child’s broadly conceived interests.
In an open peer commentary published on the same January 2012 issue of AJOB, Mameli and I argue that Wendler’s argument is unsatisfactory in that it fails to consider the context of clinical research. By ‘context’ we refer the conditions in which participants find themselves and, more specifically, the kind of access to health care that they have. As a case study and an application of our arguments, we chose to analyse the recent COMPAS-Synflorix trial which represents an instance of a trial in which the participants were taking part in research in exchange for access to health care resources that would otherwise not be available to them. In such circumstances, in our view, the fact that participants “contribute to a valuable project” -as put by Wendler – by participating in clinical research cannot by itself provide a proper justification for the ethical permissibility of the research, notwithstanding the low risks involved in participation. Continue reading

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