Grappling with groups: protecting collective interests in biomedical research
Sharp, Richard R.
Foster, Morris W.
Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 2007 July-August; 32(4): 321-337
Strategies for protecting historically disadvantaged groups have been extensively debated in the context of genetic variation research, making this a useful starting point in examining the protection of social groups from harm resulting from biomedical research. We analyze research practices developed in response to concerns about the involvement of indigenous communities in studies of genetic variation and consider their potential application in other contexts. We highlight several conceptual ambiguities and practical challenges associated with the protection of group interests and argue that protectionist strategies developed in the context of genetic research will not be easily adapted to other types of research in which social groups are placed at risk. We suggest that it is this set of conceptual and practical issues that philosophers, ethicists, and others should focus on in their efforts to protect identifiable social groups from harm resulting from biomedical research.
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