Segments in this Video

Introduction: Ethics of Medical Research (01:49)


Fred Friendly cites the creation of the smallpox vaccine as an example of medical experimentation on humans. In the video, panelists will use AIDS as the example.

Treatment Protocol (02:23)

Moderator Lewis Kaden portrays Bill Parker who was diagnosed as HIV-positive. Dr. DeVita has created a new drug therapy and Parker wants to participate in the program.

Power and Influence (06:30)

The panel members would use their influence to get a sick person they know into a program. Political influence plays a role in entering patients on protocol. Doctors can be flexible with the number of patients but not physical illness eligibility.

Clinical Trials (03:57)

The panel members talk about the ethics of randomized trials. Doctors do not know with certainty whether the drugs work. Most drugs tested fail because they are unsafe or ineffective.

Placebo Trial (02:14)

Researchers try to gain knowledge and help the patient. Panel members agree it is more ethical to use a drug that is effective on patients with a deadly disease than a placebo.

Patient Consent (03:24)

Ensure patients entering a program understand the protocol. If patients cannot make that type of decision with full awareness, they need to have another person involved, such as their primary care physician.

Double Blind Study (02:02)

The panel members discuss the ethics of a double-blind experiment. This method helps ensure the researcher has no bias and is objective throughout the experiment.

Switching Medical Studies (05:58)

Parker wants to switch to a private company doing similar medical research but cannot be on medication from the first study. Panelists say it is better to finish one protocol before starting another. Private companies are likely to need money from patients or their insurance companies because there is no public funding.

Responsible Research (03:31)

Private and government research experiments are different. Private research does not have to be held to the same standards or rigor.

Research Funding (03:42)

The panel members discuss differences between for-profit and publicly funded research. Some say for-profit companies prey on desperate and sick people by offering unproven and untested treatments that are costly; people can find similar protocols that are free.

Research Credibility (06:26)

Where experiments receive funding should not matter if private companies are held to the same standards as government-run experiments. The most important aspect of any research project is quality control.

Sharing Medical Research (02:54)

Some panelists believe in sharing scientific information; others would share only if there were an advantage. For science to be good, there needs to be open communication.

Research Publication (08:55)

Scientists prefer their findings published in a journal. If the popular press publishes a researcher’s article, it may not be eligible for publication in a scientific journal. It is unethical to give research articles to the public first.

Conclusion: Ethics of Medical Research (00:28)

Friendly concludes the discussion on ethical dilemmas of medical research and introduces the next episode.

Credits: Human Experiment (01:32)

Credits: Human Experiment

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Human Experiment

Part of the Series : Ethics in America
3-Year Streaming Price: $169.95



Does finding a cure justify putting test subjects at risk? C. Everett Koop is joined by Dr. Arnold Relman, editor of the New England Journal of Medicine, and other distinguished panelists in a discussion of the medical research field.

Length: 57 minutes

Item#: BVL160438

Copyright date: ©1989

Closed Captioned

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