Essay Ethics


Essay 5 Questions – Research Ethics

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Answer All Parts of All Questions.




(a) In defending the Willowbrook experiment, Saul Krugman and others argue that it will provide future benefits. What is the experiment and what are the future benefits claimed? (For additional background, see pages 38-39.)


(b) In appealing to future benefits, Krugman is making use of Utilitarianism. Explain what Utilitarianism is and show how Krugman uses it.


(c) Paul Ramsey in “Judgment on Willowbrook” challenges Krugman’s defense. Explain Ramsey’s criticism.


(d) Who do you think is right, if either? Explain.


Animal experimentation

(a) Peter Singer (“Animal Experimentation”) and Carl Cohen (“The Case for the Use of Animals in Biomedical Research”) disagree over the ethical legitimacy of using animals in clinical trials.


Explain the difference between their positions. As part of your explanation, describe the role that the ability to feel pain and the ability to act autonomously play in the two viewpoints.


(b) Peter Singer says:


“So whenever experimenters claim that their experiments are important enough to justify the use of animals, we should ask them whether they would be prepared to use a brain-damaged human being at a similar mental level to the animals they are planning to use.” (p. 201)


Explain why Singer says we should ask this question.


(c) How would Cohen reply to Singer? Explain.


(d) Who do you think is right, if either? Explain.


Randomized clinical trials and conflict of interest

What is the purpose of a pre-clinical trial?

What is the purpose of a clinical trial? Explain.

Explain what a control group is and why it is important.

What is “double-blinding” and why is it important in a clinical trial?

What was James Lind’s scurvy experiment and what did it prove? Explain.

Describe one example of a Nazi death camp experiment and why it is unethical.


Conflict of Interest

What is conflict of interest? Provide an example to illustrate your answer. Why is conflict of interest morally objectionable? Explains.

Marcia Angell in the article “Drug Companies and Medicine: What Money Can Buy” (text, pp. 201-206), claims that academic medicine and pharmaceutical companies have different missions. Explain what she means.

Why does Angell think a close relationship between academic medicine and pharmaceutical companies is a bad idea? Explain.

Describe two solutions proposed by Angell for improving the relationship between academic medicine and pharmaceutical companies.

In the article “A Partnership Worth Promoting” (text, pp. 206-207) the author, Emma D’Arcy says:
“Consumers are adept at distinguishing between overt brand promotion and useful information that helps them live longer, healthier, and happier lives.”


What is her point in making this claim?


Who do you think is right Angell or D’Arcy?

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