Friday, September 14, 2012

Paying for human waste tissue used in research: Should it be repugnant? forbidden? allowed? mandated?

Scott Kominers alerts me to the recent debate taking place in the pages of Science.

He writes
"Gary Becker and I have a brief letter in Science supporting the possibility of compensation for donors of waste tissue: [Paying for Tissue: Net Benefits}

It is in response to a policy piece by Truog et al. that appeared a few weeks ago, and claims that such compensation is repugnant:[Paying Patients for Their Tissue: The Legacy of Henrietta Lacks]

The authors have published a response to our note: [Paying for Tissue: Net Benefits—Response]

There is also a letter from Leonard Hayflick which clears up some of the history: [Paying for Tissue: The Case of WI-38].

Science's editors ... have made all the letters [but not the original Policy Forum article on Research Ethics] open access, and also set up a poll: at  (Although the poll topic is not quite parallel to Gary's and my argument – they ask whether researchers should be required to pay patients for waste tissue use, rather than whether they should be allowed to do so.)

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