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“Fair’s fair argument” and voluntarism in clinical research: But, is it fair?
  1. M A Perna
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dr Maria Antonietta Perna
 Public Health Policy Unit, School of Public Policy, University College London, Research & Development Directorate – NHS Foundation Trust UCLH, 17 Westall Close, West Street, Herts, Hertford SG13 8EY, UK; m.perna{at}


This article sets out to counteract HM Evans’s “fair’s fair argument” in support of abolishing veto to research participation. Evans’s argument attempts to assimilate ordinary clinical practice to clinical research. I shall refer to this attempt as “assimilation claim”. I shall attempt to show that this assimilation, as it is carried out in Evans’s argument, is misleading and, ultimately, logically undermines the conclusion. I shall then proceed to show that when the fair’s fair argument is proposed independently of the assimilation claim, Evans’s conclusion is not unavoidable and possible alternatives are equally open within the terms of the argument itself.

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