Medicines and medical devices have been indispensable for fighting disease and protecting human life. Before these can be released and made available to the public, they need to go through a process of clinical trials on human beings to ensure that they are effective and have minimal negative effects. While most clinical trials are conducted on adult participants, children also play an important role when studies revolve around conditions/illnesses that mainly affect young people.
Three families have to make a difficult choice: should they allow their children to go through a clinical trial?
Kris struggles to decide if putting her son through tests on a new drug might cause him more distress. Luther opposes compulsory clinical trials on principle, but is also aware these can save lives. Johari wonders if he should sign his children up for these trials to supplement the family’s income.
Should children take part in clinical trials? Should they have a say? Are they old enough to decide?
The Necessary Stage tackles these questions and more in Child’s Play, an exciting and thought-provoking performance that explores the ethical issues surrounding the use of child subjects in clinical trials.
(In collaboration with Centre for Biomedical Ethics, National University of Singapore)