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BiocitizenshipThe Politics of Bodies, Governance, and Power$
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Kelly E. Happe, Jenell Johnson, and Marina Levina

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781479845194

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9781479845194.001.0001

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Exploiting Vulnerable Citizens

Exploiting Vulnerable Citizens

Drug Testing and the Mentally Ill

(p.133) 6 Exploiting Vulnerable Citizens

Carl Elliott

Emma Bedor Hiland

NYU Press

The mentally ill are a highly vulnerable population, but remain remarkably easy for pharmaceutical researchers to exploit. When the US Congress passed the National Research Act in 1974, it was responding largely to scandals involving vulnerable populations. The federal guidelines later enacted provide special protections for certain populations, such as prisoners and the mentally disabled, but provide no special protections for the mentally ill. Drawing on recent psychiatric and pharmaceutical scandals, such as the case of Dan Markingson, a man who killed himself while participating in a clinical study, this chapter examines the financial pressures, conceptual flaws, and regulatory gaps that allow the exploitation of the mentally ill to continue. It argues that these scandals call into question biocitizenship in the context of vulnerable populations called upon to enact citizenship by participating in pharmaceutical trials whose purpose is ostensibly to serve the common good.

Keywords:   Vulnerable populations, Clinical research, Psychiatry, Psychopharmacology, Suicide

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