vulnerable subject

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vulnerable subject2016-12-10T00:24:58+00:00

vulnerable subject


Definition An individual whose willingness to volunteer in a clinical trial may be unduly influenced by the expectation, whether justified or not, of benefits associated with participation, or of a retaliatory response from senior members of a hierarchy for refusing to participate.

Examples of bottom feeders in a hierarchical structure include medical, pharmacy, dental, and nursing students, subordinate hospital and laboratory personnel, employees of the pharmaceutical industry, members of the armed forces, and detainees and prisoners. Other vulnerable subjects include patients with incurable diseases, persons in nursing homes, unemployed or impoverished persons, patients in emergency situations, ethnic minority groups, homeless persons, nomads, refugees, minors, and those incapable of giving consent. 

References J Med Ethics 2004;30:141-145 doi:10.1136/jme.2003.007062
EJ Emanuel, The Oxford Textbook of Clinical Research Ethics, 2011

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