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Coercive offers and research participation: a comment on Wertheimer and Miller
  1. John McMillan
  1. Correspondence to John McMillan, School of Medicine, Flinders Medical Centre, Flinders University, GPO Box 2100, Room 5E: 209, Adelaide SA 5001, Australia; john.mcmillan{at}


Concepts such as ‘coercion’ and ‘inducement’ are often used within bioethics without much reflection upon what they mean. This is particularly so in research ethics where they are assumed to imply that payment for research participation is unethical. Wertheimer and Miller advance our thinking about these concepts and research ethics in a significant way, specifically by questioning the possibility of genuine offers ever being coercive. This commentary argues that they are right to question this assumption, however, more needs to be said about the plausible coercive offer cases and to explain the normativity of these cases.

  • Informed consent
  • research on special populations
  • social control of human experimentation

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  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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