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Experimenting on humans

  1. May 27, 2005 #1
    How does ethic of science deal with experiences on humans like those where people get paid to take some new drugs?

    Isn't the respect for human being and its integrity something very important?

    Let's talk about that and tell me what you think.
  2. jcsd
  3. May 28, 2005 #2
    With a piece of paper.

    I guess the individual waives that, if it exists to begin with, when they sign up.
  4. May 28, 2005 #3
    Check out the nuremberg code on google or somethin.
  5. May 29, 2005 #4


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    Democracy takes the opinion of the majority, over the minority. The respect for the minority being human and their integrity are also taken away. There are countless examples of this throughout life.

    Thus, this "disrespect" of humans is a common phenomena. So if anyone is overly focused no respecting the human integrity, it is time they stopped many other aspects of life that do the same thing. Some of them disturbingly important to their beliefs.
    Last edited: May 29, 2005
  6. May 30, 2005 #5
    Would it be better if pharmaceutical companies simply began distribution of
    drugs to millions of people without first testing them on small groups?
    Couldn't it be out of respect for human life that there are test trials before a drug is approved to be placed on the market? Or should we not be developing any drugs at all? (I am sure a few religous nutcases would agree with that point.)
    As long as the participants are willing and informed of the risks involved I don't see anything wrong with it.
    The risk of an experimental drug can be substantial, but so can the risk of a patient not taking the drug or continuing use of the current drug prescribed for his/her condition. (Assuming we are talking about drugs intended to treat serious medical conditions.)

    There seem to be few options.

    1. Do not develop drugs.
    2. Develop drugs but do not test them before marketing.
    3. Test the drugs on unwilling/unsuspecting participants.
    4. Find people willing to take the risks of testing the new drug, inform them of possible effects of the drug (ie. genitalia falling off, spontaneous combustion, eyeballs exploding, death and eternal damnation in hell etc. etc.) and compensate them financially.

    The only ethical part I see is the researchers being completely honest about everything they know and believe about the drug that is being tested.

    Another question might be the ethics of governments forbidding the use of drugs that could be used to treat medical conditions or giving pharmacists the right to refuse to fill prescriptions based on their personal beleifs.
    Last edited: May 30, 2005
  7. May 31, 2005 #6


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    Humans brought this upon themselves. The over population and overcrowding of the planet has inevitably given rise to a situation where humans are simply part of the 'supply and demand' economics - the more humans there is, the less valuable each one is.

    It may sound outlandish and cold, but look at the world around you - 100k humans died in the military conflicts and we draw a distinction between 'civilians' and 'military' as if the military somehow is lesser important when they die

    So solution to your ethical problem is
    1. use systems biology (need more research done on molecular biology, bioinformatics, biophysics, and more powerful computational capabilities)
    2. getting the third world countries (India, Mexico, etc) to start using condoms and getting their population balanced.
  8. May 31, 2005 #7


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    The ethics of scoiuence deals with it just fine thank you very much.
    Scientist: "Would you like some money to take this new experimental drug?"
    Human: "Why, yes I would!"
    Scientist: "Here you go."

    Scientist: "Would you like some celery to take this new experimental drug?"
    Cute fuzzy bunny: " ".
    Scientist: "I'll take your continued silence as a yes." *stab*
  9. Jun 2, 2005 #8
    Why not experiment on humans? If the thing we are experimenting is relevant to humananity, than what test subject would be more appropriate? Do you want to know how the disease truly affects a rat, or how it truly affects a human? Would you rather know what the eyeliner looks like on a rabbit than on a human supermodel? Forcing a lab animal to suffer through the chemicals isn't ANY different ethically than forcing a human to suffer through the chemicals/be the guinnea pig, so if the human subject is willing to do this, then why not? And if they are not willing, then what is the difference between forcing them to and forcing a monkey to. If you must force someone to test, force someone of the species that the test is relevant to. Either way, test on the humans.
  10. Jun 2, 2005 #9
    Is Jeffrey Dahmer any different than someone who eats a steak?
  11. Jun 2, 2005 #10


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    Simple answer: test on humans or give untested drugs to people and dramatically increase the possibility taht you'll kill a million people before you realize the drug is deadly to humans.
  12. Jun 4, 2005 #11
    I'm going to go out on a limb here, and make a generalization that most people (besides Jeff) who eat a steak probably don't impale animals on sticks, give drugs to minors of the same sex to lure them into a photo shoot fondle session, only to kill them and violate the corpse necro-style (directly and indirectly), feast from it, dismember it, stash it, and lie about it, only to confess to it all later once they knew they were legally screwed. Final answer: Yes.

    By the way my statement was about the ethics of testing, not the ethics of eating habits.
  13. Jun 4, 2005 #12
    We should use convicted violent criminals as test subjects. It's a good alternative to death row.
  14. Jun 5, 2005 #13
    OK, forget Dahmer.

    Is it any ethically different 'ethically' to BBQ a human as it is to BBQ an animal.

    Your statement argues against using animals for medical testing.

    If animals don't have the right not to be slaughtered and consumed. Why should they have the right not to be used for medical research.

    We can't because of that pesky Constitution. Don't worry, Dubya is hard at work in that area.
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2005
  15. Jun 6, 2005 #14
    It depends on why they are being BBQ'd.

    I didn't argue against animal testing or express my views about animal rights. I made the claim that humans would be the appropriate choice and that it wouldn't be ethically different. If I say a mop will clean your floor better than a toothbrush, it doesn't mean I'm AGAINST you using a toothebrush. I'm just saying, "Why don't you use the mop?!"

    If you're talking about Amendment VIII, what is construed as "cruel" or "unusual" punishment can only be arbitrarily and subjectively determined. This is done by the judge, based on his/her definitions and values. Sometimes there are cruel and unusual punishments given.


    I say we should (or ought to) test on convicts.
  16. Jun 6, 2005 #15
    I do realise that before drugs are tested on humans, they go through a battery of tests, from Preclinica cell tests to toxicology.
    The first of the human trials start with healthy people and can last months.
    The second part of human testing, normally involves people who have the illness that the drug is designed for. It can last from months to several years.
    The third stage is random testing can last up to 4 years.

    I have some issues with the second stage, where someone who is gravely ill, is given a experimental medicine or a placebo. Did they accept because they think they have a 50/50 chance of being cured? Did they for go other treatments in hopes of being in the lucky group? Will they die because they got only the placebo? Would parents push there children into these tests in hopes they are among the lucky 50%? And do parents have the{moral} right to sign up there children for experiments?
  17. Jun 6, 2005 #16


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    Hypatia, im pretty sure they have to give their consent. If the disease has no cure and is fatal, i would assume that it doesnt matter if you die because of the pill/whatever since you were going to die anyways. Also, if they die because they got the placebo, then unfortunatly thats all part of the risks involved. I woudl also say its morally right simply because their child would die nay other way.

    Of coures, this is only applicable to fatal diseases... it seems the more serious the illness is, the close the situation would be to what i said above... The less serious the situation is however, the more blurry the idea gets.

    IRT criminal testings

    It would be a nice idea but really, how likely is there to be a criminal that fits the clinical testing requirements for a certain drug at any given time?
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2005
  18. Jun 6, 2005 #17


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    Love the random ideolog statements :D
  19. Jun 6, 2005 #18
    They should at least name the new medicine after the first person who died because they only got the placebo.
  20. Jun 6, 2005 #19
    There are groups such as ALF and PETA that take extreme positions on animal testing. I guess I read too much into your statement and assumed you were making a similiar arguement. I do see a big difference between using an animal for medical research and forcing a human to be subjected to research. If testing on animals reduces the risk of human fatalities it is worth it.

    Yeah, I guess those are best kept in General Discussion.
  21. Jun 7, 2005 #20


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    Staff: Mentor

    You really aught to read the US Constitution and the political theory that led to its creation. While it is certainly true that the fundamental flaw in democracy is the "tyranny of the majority", the US Constitution (and all modern democracies) have successfully dealt with this issue by building individual rights into law.
    Yes. Inevitable follow-up: why? Answer: humans are different from other animals.

    Further discussion of the question is useless (search for the 1000 page thread on the subject) because it results in an endless loop of dancing back and forth between saying humans are different vs humans are not different.
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