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Review
. 2018 Apr;48(4).
doi: 10.1111/eci.12896. Epub 2018 Feb 17.

Can There Be a Moral Obligation to Participate in Biomedical Research?

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Review

Can There Be a Moral Obligation to Participate in Biomedical Research?

Christian Seiler. Eur J Clin Invest. .

Abstract

In clinical medicine, the moral obligation to care for the individual patient is absolute. Patient care means at least and by negative terms to minimize any risk of treatment. In this context, the question arises about the compatibility of clinical ethics and human biomedical research ethics. Or conversely, is there a common ground between the two? At the opposite end of the field between clinical ethics and biomedical research ethics is the proposal of an obligation to participate in biomedical research, which is argued for on the basis of biomedical knowledge being a public good available to the community as a whole. While patient accrual during a clinical investigation would certainly be facilitated by obligatory research participation, and the data obtained would be-at first sight-more representative for the population studied, the still feasible refusal to participate would be stigmatizing and as such detrimental for the patient-physician relation. This essay seeks to provide a reply to the titled question by focusing on aspects such as individual vs common medical claims, shared grounds between the two and an important document of medical research ethics, that is the Nuremberg code.

Keywords: Belmont report; Nuremberg code; biomedical research ethics; clinical ethics; informed consent; public goods.

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