In recent years, some ethicists such as John Harris and Rosamund Rhodes have argued for reconceptualizing participation in health research as a moral obligation. Their justifications have included the obligation to prevent harm to others, the obligation to contribute fairly in the interest of justice, and the obligation as a citizen to contribute to public goods
The contrasting view is that viewing research participation as a moral obligation is too strong an imposition on individuals not backed by adequate claims. For example, not all health research is carried out to bring about significant reduction in morbidity and mortality. Plenty of health studies are geared towards the development of “me-too” drugs that have little societal benefits. For these and other research studies, it is hardly justifiable to expect individuals to feel a moral obligation to participate.
What is your opinion? Should individuals be obliged to participate in health research?
What implications would such an obligation have on our existing concepts and policies about research participation?
With the globalization of clinical trials, what, if any, might be the impact of such an obligation on research participants in low-income countries?
Are there situations where participation in research could be reasonably considered a moral obligation?