Medicine and Health

Ethics of Clinical Research and Medical Care

Clinical research and medical care both rely on ethics to maintain safety and moral integrity.  When involving human subjects, a strong ethical code is crucial.  Since science and medicine are interdependent on one another, clinical research and medical ethics both strive for progress in the healthcare field, though their methods and guidelines may differ.

The major differences between clinical research and medical care are the focus of the methods and the roles of the participants.  In clinical research, experimental procedures are designed to be tested on human subjects.  The main goal is to increase knowledge which will further the advancement of science.  Medical care applies the results of the research to improve the health of patients.

Clinical research and medical care have many similarities. Both fields must respect human dignity and take all measures to ensure safety.  Good ethics require an experimental procedure to undergo extensive testing in the laboratory before being implemented in the medical field.  In both areas, strict codes of conduct must be followed; researchers must adhere to the Nuremberg Code and healthcare providers swear a Hippocratic Oath.  Ethical guidelines help scientists and healthcare providers cause the least amount of harm while achieving a desired outcome.  Both fields must remain objective and impartial.  Researchers must guard against biases and influencing desired outcomes, and healthcare providers must not become overly involved with patients to exercise the best judgment and act for the best interest of the patient.

By adhering to ethical conduct, both clinical research and medical care benefit.  The ethical guidelines may differ slightly, but the necessity of maintaining safety and human dignity show that the ethics involved are similar.  While research may be more academic and medical care patient-oriented, the goal of improving healthcare is the same.


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Wendler, D. (n.d.). The ethics of clinical research. (2012). The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Retrieved from