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Cadernos de Saúde Pública

versão impressa ISSN 0102-311Xversão On-line ISSN 1678-4464


KOTTOW, Miguel. Rhetorical and semantic tensions in research ethics. Cad. Saúde Pública [online]. 2007, vol.23, n.10, pp.2396-2402. ISSN 0102-311X.

In recent years, rhetorical and semantic disjunctions have been used to validate practices traditionally rejected as ethical transgressions. According to such research ethics, subjects unable to exercise their autonomy are freely recruited, and vulnerable individuals are incorporated into research that purportedly serves the common good. The suggestions violate established rules that prohibit placing social or scientific interests above individual needs. The common good is invoked arbitrarily, since most such research serves private corporate interests. The definitions of coercion and exploitation are weakened, thus allowing the inclusion of mentally compromised research subjects and validating practices that have been viewed historically as overt ethical transgressions of research with human beings. An increasing number of research projects are being transferred to Latin America, making it necessary for local bioethics committees to remain alert in the wake of practices that weaken the protection of individuals and communities participating in studies supported by First World commercial interests.

Palavras-chave : Research Ethics; Informed Consent; Helsinki Declaration; Vulnerability.

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