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Constructing Risk Knowledge

Constructing Risk Knowledge

(p.206) 8 Constructing Risk Knowledge
Adverse Events
Jill A. Fisher
NYU Press

Healthy volunteers’ construction of trials as safe is enabled by their categorization of some studies as riskier than others. Chapter 8 describes this process as a type of model organism epistemology and illustrates how this knowledge comes from personal experiences as well as stories and rumors healthy volunteers hear from other participants. This information accretes into what could be thought of as collective “risk filters” when the same types of investigational drugs or clinical procedures continuously emerge at the center of healthy volunteers’ stories. A risk filter acts as a preliminary basis for evaluating the risk of a specific Phase I study by comparing it to the collective experience of participants in similar clinical trials. Regardless of their claims about inherent risk, healthy volunteers mobilize this information in their decision-making about which Phase I trials to join and which to avoid.

Keywords:   Phase I trials, healthy volunteers, risk, model organism, epistemology, social network, decision-making

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