Chapter

Introduction

Sydney A. Halpern

in Lesser Harms

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print November 2004 | ISBN: 9780226314518
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226314532 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226314532.003.0001
Introduction

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Many depictions of clinical research appearing in American publications during the final third of the twentieth century are strikingly incompatible with the notion of morality. In the 1960s and 1970s, the use of human subjects in medical research came under public and professional scrutiny. Critics insisted that scientists were routinely committing investigatory abuses: exposing subjects to undue risks, drawing subjects from vulnerable groups, and failing to obtain informed consent. This book examines moral traditions governing the introduction of new medical interventions before the advent of federal regulation and formal bioethics, borrowing from—and drawing links between—multiple perspectives in the discipline of sociology. It looks at the ways that indigenous morality among clinical researchers has affected and continues to affect the conduct of human research. It focuses on vaccine trials in the United States during the early and middle decades of the twentieth century. It also touches on earlier vaccine controversies in Europe and considers a broader range of clinical research.

Keywords: medical research; indigenous morality; United States; Europe; human research; vaccine trials; bioethics; sociology; federal regulation; clinical researchers

Chapter.  6245 words. 

Subjects: Health, Illness, and Medicine

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