F

or decades, it’s been taboo to test medications on pregnant women. But doctors, patients, and public health officials are increasingly arguing that it’s unethical not to include them in research. So new ideas for changing the research culture are emerging.

Doctors, ethicists, and drug industry leaders laid out several concrete suggestions for addressing the problem in interviews with STAT and in presentations to a federal task force studying the issue.

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  • To add to my comments on Part I of this article:

    The real problem is we do not have a Precautionary Principle in the United States, requiring proof of safety, instead of proof of harm. Alas, the Hippocratic Oath has become more hypocritical than heartfelt.

    What compensation will be offered to families whose children experience harm, and what burden of proof will they have to go through, and at whose expense? Will this be fully disclosed? Will new criteria for payments, and exclusions be developed after the fact?

    Perhaps the only ethical way to do drug studies on pregnant women is to limit it to principals and family members of board members, executives and research staff of the companies proposing the trials.

  • What could possibly go wrong?

    The drug testing on healthy people (and the homeless) has enough problems with ethics. Sure, let’s broaden the ethics net to include the unborn.

    What could possibly go wrong?

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