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Filthy Lucre or Fitting Offer? Understanding Worries About Payments to Research Participants
Emily A. Largent, Ezekiel J. Emanuel & Holly Fernandez Lynch

Offers of payment made in exchange for research participation are common. And yet they are often regarded as, at best, a “necessary evil.” This is odd. In most nonresearch contexts, people find payment for goods and services unproblematic. Indeed, when goods and services are not intended as gifts, failure to pay for them is a problem; we call it theft. Why should payments made in the context o...

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The Continued Complexities of Paying Research Participants
Christine Grady

Paying research participants is a widespread, long-standing, ethically acceptable, and perennially fraught practice. Although data are limited, payment is offered to participants in many research studies with amounts ranging from a few dollars to several thousands of dollars. Payment can facilitate recruitment to clinical trials and enables research participation for persons in a variety of studie...

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Why Dax’s Case Still Matters
Kayhan Parsi & William J. Winslade

After nearly 50  years, the case of Dax Cowart still engages ethicists, lawyers, health professionals, students, and the general public. Why? Dax Cowart, who died of cancer on April 28, 2019, at the age of 71, became a stalwart champion of personal autonomy after his experience as a burn patient who unsuccessfully refused treatment in the early 1970s. The doctrine of informed consent was alrea...

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Target Article

“Paid to Endure”: Paid Research Participation, Passivity, and the Goods of Work
Erik Malmqvist

A growing literature documents the existence of individuals who make a living by participating in phase I clinical trials for money. Several scholars have noted that the concerns about risks, consent, and exploitation raised by this phenomenon apply to many (other) jobs, too, and therefore proposed improving subject protections by regulating phase I trial participation as work. This article contri...

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How Payment for Research Participation Can Be Coercive
Joseph Millum & Michael Garnett

The idea that payment for research participation can be coercive appears widespread among research ethics committee members, researchers, and regulatory bodies. Yet analysis of the concept of coercion by philosophers and bioethicists has mostly concluded that payment does not coerce, because coercion necessarily involves threats, not offers. In this article we aim to resolve this disagreement by d...

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