, Volume 12, Issue 1, pp 175-183

Biomedical research and mining of the poor: The need for their exclusion

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Abstract

Almost all ethical guidelines and legislative policies concerning biomedical research involving human subjects contain provisions about relevance of research for the participating populations, informed consent, adequate care for research induced injuries and several other safeguards but the poor continue to suffer. Globalization has further aggravated poor people’s vulnerability by exposing them to international markets. Since the developing countries are abode of higher population of the poor they have become the unholy mines of this human ore for researchers. In this paper I examine various dimensions of poverty and analyze the international ethical responses in the area of biomedical research involving human subjects in order to determine their adequacy to protect the poor against exploitation and misuse and conclude that in view of the poor’s inherent and extreme vulnerability and the failure of ethical pronouncements to protect them from misuse and exploitation, they should be excluded from being enrolled as research subjects

This paper was presented at the 6th International Bioethics Conference on the subject of ‘The Responsible Conduct of Basic and Clinical Research’, held in Warsaw, Poland, 3–4 June 2005.