Professional Guinea Pig Summary

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Roberto Abadie’s (2010) book, The Professional Guinea Pig: Big Pharma and the Risky World of Human Subjects, brings up many ethical issues. Abadie’s enquiry illustrates matters of beneficence, respect for autonomy, and non-maleficence the in pharmaceutical research environment. In the book, Abadie examines the pharmaceutical phase I clinical research and HIV trials from the perspective of trial participants. The majority of Abadie’s narrative focuses on professional guinea pigs. Professional guinea pigs are trial participants that take part in multiple pharmaceutical trials as a way to make a living or to accommodate their chosen lifestyle. After examining the book, the reader can raise questions concerning these principles. Seemingly, the…show more content…
The outcomes new therapies produce may seem to justify and validate the means of over compensating subjects. Some may also contend that the benefit outweighs the harm, and the aim is to produce a net benefit over harm when considering beneficence and non-maleficence together (Gillon, 1994). Nevertheless, there is no obligation of beneficence to others, but there is an obligation not to harm (Gillon, 1994). The former utilitarian statement’s intentions appear virtuous, however, the true means the industry uses and their intent is flawed. Trouiller and colleagues’ (2002) evidence supports the claim that the pharmaceutical industry’s intent is to profit from research given their reluctance to develop new therapies that would help millions due to costs and risk of investment. Consequently, subjects are then merely a means. Given this, it seems relevant to consider a deontological perspective. When the intent of the research is to produce therapies for profit, the intent ignores the social duty to help and only benefits a few. Moreover, when intention is to profit, people become means and not the ends. Kant expressed that people should always be treated as ends and not only means (Munson, 2012). The practice of using humans as tools, seemingly, is a dehumanizing practice and in itself harmful. Accordingly, the intentions reinforcing the guidelines and practices of the pharmaceutical industry undermine the principle of
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