Journal of Medical Ethics 42 (10):672-677 (2016)

Douglas MacKay
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
In this paper, I explore the ethics of subject selection in the context of biomedical research. I reject a key principle of what I shall refer to as the standard view. According to this principle, investigators should select participants so as to minimise aggregate risk to participants and maximise aggregate benefits to participants and society. On this view, investigators should exclude prospective participants who are more susceptible to risk than other prospective participants. I argue instead that investigators should select subjects in accordance with an alternative principle: formal equality of opportunity. According to this principle, investigators must treat all prospective participants the same unless differential treatment is warranted by the scientific goals of the study or the need to promote participants' medically related interests. All prospective participants (1) who meet the scientifically defined eligibility criteria and (2) for whom participation is consistent with their medically related interests should have an equal, formal opportunity to participate in the study. Prospective participants should not be excluded simply because they are more susceptible to risk than others.
Keywords Bioethics  Research Ethics  Fair Subject Selection
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DOI 10.1136/medethics-2015-103311
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References found in this work BETA

A Theory of Justice: Revised Edition.John Rawls - 1999 - Harvard University Press.
Equality and Priority.Derek Parfit - 1997 - Ratio 10 (3):202–221.
Comparing Harms: Headaches and Human Lives.Alastair Norcross - 1997 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 26 (2):135-167.

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Citations of this work BETA

Four Faces of Fair Subject Selection.Katherine Witte Saylor & Douglas MacKay - 2020 - American Journal of Bioethics 20 (2):5-19.
Context is Needed When Assessing Fair Subject Selection.G. Owen Schaefer - 2020 - American Journal of Bioethics 20 (2):20-22.

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