Synopses & Reviews
The idea that we have an unlimited moral imperative to pursue medical research is deeply rooted in American society and medicine. In this provocative work, Daniel Callahan exposes the ways in which such a seemingly high and humane ideal can be corrupted and distorted into a harmful practice.
Medical research, with its power to attract money and political support, and its promise of cures for a wide range of medical burdens, has good and bad sideswhich are often indistinguishable. In What Price Better Health?, Callahan teases out the distinctions and differences, revealing the difficulties that result when the research imperative is suffused with excessive zeal, adulterated by the profit motive, or used to justify cutting moral corners. Exploring the National Institutes of Health's annual budget, the inflated estimates of health care cost savings that result from research, the high prices charged by drug companies, the use and misuse of human subjects for medical testing, and the controversies surrounding human cloning and stem cell research, Callahan clarifies the fine line between doing good and doing harm in the name of medical progress. His work shows that medical research must be understood in light of other social and economic needs and how even the research imperative, dedicated to the highest human good, has its limits.
"This book is of special importance. Callahan brings together in one volume the history of biomedical research in the U.S., a discussion of the goals, process, and conduct of biomedical research, and a compelling proposal for reforming the balance between research and public health policies."--Dorothy Rice, coauthor of The Dynamics of Disability: Measuring and Monitoring Disability for Social Security Programs
"One of the foremost bioethicists of our age questions the central dogmas of biomedical research, namely that more science necessarily delivers a better life and that aging is a preventable disease. Callahan brilliantly deconstructs the myths behind medical research; his arguments and socratic inquiry will shake your complacency as it did my own."Sheldon Krimsky, author of Science in the Private Interest
"This book is the fruit of many years of reflection by one who has been at the center of the bioethics movement in this country. Managing to be simultaneously readable and knowledgeable, Callahan has also not been afraid to be provocative. His book will be required reading for all who want to ponder the ethics of research."Gilbert Meilaender, author of Body, Soul and Bioethics
About the Author
is Director of the International Program at the Hastings Center and Senior Fellow at Harvard Medical School. He is the author of False Hopes
(1998), The Troubled Dream of Life
(1993), What Kind of Life?
(1990), and Setting Limits
In 2011, Callahan received the Matteo Ricci, S.J. Award for his contributions to Christian culture.
Table of Contents
Foreword by Daniel M. Fox and Samuel L. Milbank
Introduction: An Imperative?
1. The Emergence and Growth of the Research Imperative
2. Protecting the Integrity of Science
3. Is Research a Moral Obligation?
4. Curing the Sick, Helping the Suffering, Enhancing the Well
5. Assessing Risks and Benefits
6. Using Humans for Research
7. Pluralism, Balance, and Controversy
8. Doing Good and Doing Well
9. Advocacy and Priorities for Research
10. Research and the Public Interest