Corporations, CROs and Profit: Ethics in the New Bio-Political Economy of Globalized Biomedical Research

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Annual Meeting of the Society of Christian Ethics


A main catalyst in the emergence of the bioethics was the abuse of human subjects. Theologians were key in shaping the normative principles for human subjects research (HSR). Yet, while HSR in 2009 differs dramatically from its shape in the 1960s and 1970s, changes which have occurred over the past two decades have received little theological analysis. This paper will consider the globalization of HSR to map the myriad challenges that the global, economic, industrial infrastructure of HSR presents to the standard principles of research ethics. Particular attention will be paid to the nature of the new agent of HSR-the corporation or contract research organization.


Presented at the Annual Meeting of the Society of Christian Ethics, San Jose, CA, January 9, 2010