Protecting Human Subjects in Medical Research
- Medical research needs a steady diet of new study recruits. In other words, the beast must be fed.
- Medical investigators often have biases favoring their research and truly believe that the new drug or treatment has a real chance of helping study patients. Phrasing such as ‘preliminary results are quite promising’ may be well intentioned, but may be beyond the facts.
- Patients, particularly those who are not responding to conventional treatment, are vulnerable.
Here’s the truth. Medical research projects and clinical trials are designed to generate new knowledge that will be used to help patients down the road, not those in the study. Of course, I cannot assert that a study patient won’t realize a favorable result, but this serendipitous outcome is not the study’s planned yield.