Clinical Trials as an Industry and an Employer of Labour
To produce drugs, clinical trials depend upon the labour of volunteer participants.
For ethical reasons, participants are described as volunteers because to position them
otherwise could be considered undue inducement. By using a labour market perspective,
we argue that clinical trial participants may be understood as workers. Ethical guidelines
argue that remuneration for ‘work done’ by participants in research may result in coercion:
research participants will feel obliged to remain in a research trial despite any discomfort
and distress simply because of remunerations received. However, we suggest that
monetary benefits in the form of wages for research participants are no more coercive than the existing and accepted level of inducement.