There have been serious controversies in the latter part of the 20th century about the roles and functions of scientific and medical research. In whose interests are medical and biomedical experiments conducted and what are the ethical implications of experimentation on subjects unable to give competent consent? From the decades following the Second World War and calls for the global banning of medical research to the cautious return to the notion that in controlled circumstances, medical research on human subjects is in the best interest of the given individual and the broader population, this book addresses the key implications of experimentation on humans. This volume covers major ethical themes within biomedical research providing historical, philosophical, legal and policy reflections on the literature and specific issues in the field of research on human subjects. Focusing on special populations (the elderly, children, prisoners and the cognitively impaired) it represents the most up-to-date review of the special ethical and legal conflicts that arise with relation to experimentation on subjects from these groups. In the light of current initiatives for law reform pertaining to research ethics the world over, this volume provides a timely, comprehensive and provocative exploration of the field. The volume has been carefully organized to present important philosophical perspectives on organizing principles that should underlie any practical application. A forward-looking historical review of the regulatory regimes of principal jurisdictions, including of the legal controls already in place, provides the backdrop for future policy initiatives. Additionally, in the light of global restructuring of health care systems, several chapters have been devoted to epidemiological research and related issues.