International Journal of Applied Philosophy

Volume 32, Issue 2, Fall 2018

Tracey L. Cohen
Pages 219-229

Expendable Commodities
The Exploitation of Human Research Subjects in the Developing World

Human subjects in the developing world historically have been, and continue to be, treated like expendable commodities in clinical research. This paper will explore some of the factors that make those in the third world prime targets for exploitation. It will also challenge a deeply-entrenched view that has permitted this unethical conduct to persist—namely, the belief that the standard of medical care should vary depending upon where a research subject lives. The paper will also discuss the Food and Drug Administration’s 2008 decision to disavow the Declaration of Helsinki, to the further detriment of research subjects in developing countries. Finally, the paper will suggest a possible solution to help address this ethical crisis.