With the recent extraordinary move by pharmaceutical giant Merck to pull its top-selling drug Vioxx from the worldwide market, the importance of protecting the public from potentially serious drug related side effects has taken center stage. As the news media highlights the cardiac dangers for patients taking COX-2 inhibitors, it has become apparent that clinical research around the world is in need of more methodological rigor. Clinical research could be enhanced if the contributions and divergent thought processes of field based disciplines are included in the development of these research protocols. As this global debate ensues, it is timely to consider how anthropologists can take a more active role to improve the design, execution, and coordination of clinical trials domestically and abroad. Recently, the Society for Medical Anthropology has advocated that anthropologists participate in shaping the ethical landscape of basic, applied, and clinical research. In an article called, "Bioethics and Anthropology: A Call for partnership." Kathleen M. MacQueen, Ph.D., MPH raises the important question: "How do we protect against exploitation without unduly constraining much needed health research that could, in fact, benefit vulnerable populations?"

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