Our starting point in this article is the debate between John Harris and Iain Brassington on whether or not there is a duty to take part in scientific research. We consider the arguments that have been put forward based on fairness and a duty to rescue, and suggest an alternative justification grounded in a hypothetical agreement: that is, because effective healthcare cannot be taken for granted, but requires continuous medical research, and nobody knows what kind of healthcare they will need, participating in research should be viewed from the perspective of a social contract, based on our mutual need for medical advances.
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