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The Moral Imperatives of “Do No Harm” and “To Help Others”, Essay Example

Pages: 2

Words: 665

Essay

The moral imperatives of “do no harm” and “to help others” are both factors in weighing the possible benefit of drug testing. Making the decision to participate in a experimental study, we have to consider the possible benefits.  Also, we assume that the drug company will be operating under the respect for human dignity, autonomy, and the right to make choices.  A potential subject must risk the harm of the drug and weight it against the benefit.  Will this drug help me or help others in the future?  “The basic ethical principles for research involving human subjects include principles of respect of persons, beneficence and justice.” (Newton180) There has to be a much bigger purpose to subject ones self to experimental testing. This answer is reflective of Utilitarianism, because the weighing factors are based on the risk/benefits ratio of the test drug.

The Doctor/ investigator role, ethically, cannot be the same person. When investigating experimental drugs there is often a lot of money at stake, if this drug serves the purpose it was intended for.  For a physician to be bias with the effects on the patient, they cannot be involved with the study.  Personally, I would not have much trust in a doctor who knew that I was using investigational medicines.  There would be no way to know if personal biases were guiding his diagnosis. Considering the Utilitarian Tradition, “imperatives are close to home, in the vulnerability of human flesh and the need of the human body.” (Newton 78) If a physician stood to make a profit on a drug I was taking, their would be a vulnerability to report favorably of the drug, even if it did not serve it’s purpose.

Utilitarianism requires that we count every person as one, and no person will count as more than one. According to John Mill, this does not include children.  We are to look after and protect children, however “we may leave out of consideration those backward states of society.” (Newton168) The children under the age of an adult should not be accorded one count.  Unborn children, children in the womb, not conceived and so on, are not to be counted.  “There must be some length of time and amount of experience, after which a moral or prudential truth may be regarded as established and it is merely desired to prevent generation after generation from falling over the same precipice which has been fatal to their predecessors.” (Newton175) The intention of utilitarianism is simply the betterment of people, including children.

Jeremy Bentham’s Felicific Calculus cannot be used to decide real cases. For example house work or playing soccer. “Of the value of each distinguishable pleasure which appears to be produced by it in the first instance.” Housework, no distinguishable pleasure; and playing soccer, the pleasure is immediate if sports are enjoyable.  “Of the value of each pain which appears to be produced by it in the first instance.” Housework there is no pain which could be produced, and outside of injury, the same goes for soccer.  “Of the value of each pleasure which appears to be produced by it after the first.  This constitutes the fecundity of the first pleasure and the impurity of the first pain.” Housework can produce pleasure from the finished product, not likely the process of.  Soccer is producing pleasure the entire time, except in instances where the individual may be hurt during the game.  “Of the value of each pain which appears to be produced by it after the first. This constitutes the fecundity of the first pain, and the impurity of the first pleasure.”  (Newton153)  No first pain for either practice, therefore this calculus cannot be used in this decision.  This does not work because each person views activities that bring pain and pleasure differently; therefore it is not a effective way to determine if a tendency is good.

Work Cited

Newton, Lisa.  Ethics in America: Study Guide. Pearson Education, Inc. 2004.  Print.

Newton, Lisa.  Ethics in America: Source Reader. Pearson Education, Inc. 2004.  Print.

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