chapter  3
16 Pages

Mutual Benefit, Added Value? Doing research in the National Health Service

WithCatherine M. Will

The National Health Service (NHS) has recently been the focus of government efforts to retain

pharmaceutical research in the UK. Efforts to foster new partnerships between healthcare

providers and industry have been framed with suggestions that clinical trials can offer ‘patient

benefit’ within the NHS, cutting across ethical and sociological concerns with the possible tension

between doing research and offering care. This paper draws on ethnographic research to explore

the sometimes awkward juxtapositions between trial protocols and everyday care, individual

health and commercial profit, and thus the distribution of value produced through trials. While

researchers appear to find the distinction between research and care useful, at least some of the

time, both formal and informal strategies for living with this distinction may have the unintended

consequence of making research appear supplementary to rather than simply different from

clinical care.