Do research sponsors have an obligation to disclose, in the informed consent form, the projected future cost of the drug they plan to test on research participants? Deborah Barnbaum believes requiring research sponsors to disclose this information will motivate a dialogue between the two parties, thus making it harder for them to exploit research participants in dire circumstances. To establish this requirement, Barnbaum argues that the future cost of the drug is crucial information for deciding whether to participate in the clinical trial and therefore should be included in informed consent forms. Although Barnbaum’s goal is a worthy one, I will argue that to achieve this goal, research sponsors do not need to include the anticipated future cost of the drug, as she argues, and that perhaps they should not, since including this information could lead to more harm than good. Instead, I argue that a far less stringent requirement is to include, in the informed consent form, a statement which indicates that research participants might not have personal access to the drug, were it to pass the trial and reach the market. This, I believe, is all that is needed to satisfy Barnbaum’s hope to motivate dialogue between the two parties.


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pp. 93-102
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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