In an article in Virtual Mentor: The A.M.A. Journal of Ethics, after noting that it is mostly the poor who participate in medical trials, and that it is hard to get enough volunteers, the suggestion is made that medical trial participation be made compulsory.
” If progression of promising vaccines from the lab to the clinic is to remain unaffected and financial inducement is an ethically unacceptable solution to the recruitment shortage, other strategies need to be considered.Compulsory involvement in vaccine studies is one alternative solution that is not as outlandish as it might seem on first consideration. Many societies already mandate that citizens undertake activities for the good of society; in several European countries registration for organ-donation has switched from “opt-in” (the current U.S. system) to “opt-out” systems (in which those who do not specifically register as nondonors are presumed to consent to donation) , and most societies expect citizens to undertake jury service when called upon. In these examples, the risks or inconvenience to an individual are usually limited and minor. Mandatory involvement in vaccine trials is therefore perhaps more akin to military conscription, a policy operating today in 66 countries. In both conscription and obligatory trial participation, individuals have little or no choice regarding involvement and face inherent risks over which they have no control, all for the greater good of society.”
Subsequent paragraphs note somewhat regretfully that this practice might go against the Declaration of Human Rights. There is discussion of default “opt in” as opposed to “opt-out” and other means of producing more test subjects.
Similar discussions were had at Tuskegee, I am sure.
Be seeing you.
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