In Defense of the Social Value Requirement for Clinical Research

11 February 2016 - 18:30-20:00

Lecture: Annette Rid, Department of Social Science, Health, and Medicine, KCL
Comment: Benedict Rumbold, Department of Philosophy, UCL

Anatomy Lecture Theatre, Hodgkin Building, Guy’s Campus

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Many commentators and guidelines endorse the view that clinical research should be permitted only when it is socially valuable, meaning that it collects data which can be used to improve health. Despite this widespread endorsement and codification, there has been no systematic analysis of why social value is a necessary condition on acceptable clinical research, and a recent article even suggests it is not necessary. I evaluate the relevant ethical arguments and policy considerations and provide justification for the view that social value is an ethical requirement for the vast majority of clinical research trials, and should be mandated by guidelines and policies for clinical research.