Blog 5 – Research Ethics

Blog 5 – Research Ethics

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In “Judgment on Willowbrook”, Paul Ramsey asserts that research on children incapable of giving consent is morally justified only if the children can directly benefit from the research. The mentally impaired children at Willowbrook used as subjects in the hepatitis experiments did not directly benefit from those experiments, according to Ramsey, and so it was wrong to use them as test subjects.
Ramsey implies that what makes this research unacceptable is the fact that such children are inherently incapable of giving consent.

But isn’t the same true of non-human research subjects such as mice, cats, and dogs? They can’t give consent. So, if Ramsey is right, shouldn’t experiments on non-human animals also be morally off-limits?

What do you think? Explain your view.

In ““Drug Companies and Medicine: What Money Can Buy” (text, pp. 201-206), Marcia Angell argues that if doctors and medical research institutions accept money from drug companies, they are guilty of a conflict of interest.
Explain what a conflict of interest is. Use an example to illustrate your answer.

Why does Angell claim why accepting money from drug companies is a conflict of interest for doctors and medical research institutions? Explain.

Do you agree with Angell? Explain.
Carl Cohen, in ‘The Case for the Use of Animals’ – text pp. 220 – 225, says that if you object to animal research you should also object to eating meat.
Explain why Cohen says this.

Do you agree with Cohen? Explain why or why not.

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