Humans For Research?
Over the centuries, human subject experimentation or human testing has been a great ethical issue among medicine or research related studies. Introduced in as early as the eleventh century by a Persian physician, the practice of using human as clinical trial subjects existed along with biomedical research, drug tests and efficacy tests (Park, 1990).
A very concerning and shocking phenomenon involving many scientists, some renowned while most are strange to the public’s eye, human experimentation is considered a “big taboo” in the society; including even powerful countries strongly abhorring the idea, most especially in terms of ethics and morality (Tsuchiya, 2003). Basically, human experimentation, also termed human subject research/use is the involvement or utilization of human beings as research subjects and respondents in clinical trials.
While it remains a big issue nowadays, there is no specific and standard definition which encompasses all activities related to human subject experimentation. Most regulatory boards, researchers and involved persons solely rely on definitions which guides in determining the qualification of a research to be considered human subject experimentation (UT Austin, RSC, 2006). The researches or studies being conducted vary extensively, with most purposes revolving around medicine; including drugs and its effects to human, psychology and other
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Medical tests are being done, drugs being administered, cosmetic drugs/ treatments being applied; interactions with co-respondents are being encouraged, and many other procedures in which turn outs are risky for the subjects. The common misconception about human subject research is that it is a coercive manner of getting human subjects into participating into a certain research or experiment. This, however, is not true at all times. While there are some human subjects who are coerced or involved without prior consent, there are also persons who volunteer out of desperation- to earn something for a living, and other financial purposes.
DEFINITION OF TERMS The use of human for experimentation is a risky business (Caplan, 2006). To indirectly lessen the risks that the subjects may get from it, regulations are being implemented, laws are being applied which pertains to the use of human as subjects for research. Human protection is the aim of these laws and regulations and included in these regulations are exemptions which may allow a certain specialist or company to conduct human subject experiment. Furthermore, indicated in these laws are definitions by which human experimentation exemptions/ allowances can be based upon.
As defined by the IRB or the Institutional Research Board, RESEARCH pertains to the systematic inquiry with the purpose of creating, contributing and maintaining generalizable knowledge and may include research development, testing and trials, evaluations, and other similar activities with the same purpose (Code of Federal Regulations, 2005). HUMAN SUBJECT is defined as a living individual whom the researcher uses in order to obtain data and identifiable private information through interaction or intervention of the individual.
INTERVENTION is any act of physical manipulation done by the researcher to change or modify the environment of the human subject. Interventions may include application of medicines and cosmetic products, control of human activities to elicit a response, and the similar situations which provide necessary data, desired or undesired. INTERACTION on the other hand pertains to the interpersonal relations or contact between the subject and researcher (OPRS, 2006). WHY HUMAN SUBJECT EXPERIMENTATION SHOULD BE ABOLISHED
Human subject experimentation may be deemed necessary most especially for the giant pharmaceutical companies or renowned scientists to prove whatever claims they have. In fact, human subject experimentation behind United State’s medical research pride (Lemonick and Goldstein, 2002). But amidst this worldwide perception America and other leading countries as a leader in medicine and biomedical research, thousands and millions may have been used over history as pawns to make these achievements possible.
Human subject experimentation is a tightrope for medical professionals, scientists and companies. Abolishing it may lead to regression of medical development and related contexts; however, the human person becomes the subject at risk and nobody knows what will happen to a person once he or she signs the consent form, should there be. In the following arguments, there would be substantiations which were obtained in various cases throughout the history of human subject experimentation.