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Keywords:

  • bioethics;
  • clinical trials;
  • developing world;
  • research ethics

ABSTRACT

The last 20 years have seen a staggering growth in the practice of off-shoring clinical research to low-and middle-income countries (LICs and MICs), a growth that has been matched by the neoliberal policies adopted by host countries towards attracting trials to their shores. A recurring concern in this context is the charge of exploitation, linked to various aspects of off-shoring. In this paper, I examine Alan Wertheimer's approach and offer an alternative view of understanding exploitation in this context. I will suggest that the justification for the enterprise of research is largely dependent on its integration within a health system from which participants regularly benefit and I argue that an attention to a principle of reciprocity will enable us to better recognize and address exploitation in international research.