Volume 17, Issue 4, Winter 2017
Compensation for the Moral Costs of Research-Related Injury
In the United States, researchers are not legally required to compensate trial participants for research-related injuries. Nevertheless, institutional review boards (IRBs) ought to require that all research proposals include broad compensation plans. However, the standard justifications for mandatory compensation cannot reconcile the need for adequate participant protections with a duty on the part of the research community to provide them. This situation can be resolved only through a deeper analysis of research-related costs. Once mere costs are distinguished from moral costs, a compelling case can be made that the principle of respect for persons, or human dignity, provides a sound moral foundation for assigning responsibility for research-related injuries.