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Revista de Bioética y Derecho

On-line version ISSN 1886-5887


STERN, Lucas. Mutually beneficial exploitative contracts? Abuse of power, vulnerable people and large pharmaceutical companies. Rev. Bioética y Derecho [online]. 2022, n.55, pp.75-89.  Epub Jan 20, 2023. ISSN 1886-5887.

In an extremely unequal world where there are powerful countries and others weak, we find companies that increase their profits exponentially and people with great socioeconomic needs. While pharmaceutical laboratories in developed countries need to test their medicines on human beings, millions of vulnerable people in developing countries need medicines that they cannot access given the context of poverty in which they find themselves. Faced with this situation, abuses of dominant positions may arise by large laboratories over vulnerable people regarding testing and access to medicines. This article proposes to reflect and discuss, from theoretical contributions from the ethical field, what some authors have called exploitative contracts in reference to the mutually beneficial and voluntary relationship between business actors and vulnerable people. Specifically, and based on various examples, we will analyze whether or not these contracts comply with some fundamental ethical principles.

Keywords : ethics; inequality; exploitative contracts; vulnerable people; pharmaceutical companies; abuse of power.

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