Title

Refuting the Net Risks Test: A Response to Wendler and Miller's "Assessing Research Risks Systematically"

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

8-2007

Journal

Journal of Medical Ethics

Volume

33

Issue

8

First Page

487

Last Page

490

URL with Digital Object Identifier

http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/jme.2006.016444

Abstract

Earlier in the pages of this journal (p 481), Wendler and Miller offered the "net risks test" as an alternative approach to the ethical analysis of benefits and harms in research. They have been vocal critics of the dominant view of benefit-harm analysis in research ethics, which encompasses core concepts of duty of care, clinical equipoise and component analysis. They had been challenged to come up with a viable alternative to component analysis which meets five criteria. The alternative must (1) protect research subjects; (2) allow clinical research to proceed; (3) explain how physicians may offer trial enrolment to their patients; (4) address the challenges posed by research containing a mixture of interventions and (5) define ethical standards according to which the risks and potential benefits of research may be consistently evaluated. This response argues that the net risks test meets none of these criteria and concludes that it is not a viable alternative to component analysis.

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