Clinical Trials as an Industry and an Employer of Labour

Morenike Oluwatoyin Folayan, Dan Allman | Journal of Cultural Economy | Volume 4, Issue 1 | 2001

To produce drugs, clinical trials depend upon the labour of volunteer participants. For ethical reasons, participants are described as volunteers because to position them otherwise could be considered undue inducement. By using a labour market perspective, we argue that clinical trial participants may be understood as workers. Ethical guidelines argue that remuneration for ‘work done’ by participants in research may result in coercion; research participants will feel obliged to remain in a research trial despite any discomfort and distress simply because of remuneration received. However, we suggest that monetary benefits – in the form of wages – for research participants are no more coercive than the existing and accepted level of inducement.

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