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406 licenses a relative interpretation for "non-therapeutic" research that would encompass interventions that carry risk beyond anything that might be considered minimal or a minor increase over minimal for a healthy population, but that offers significant chance of providing vitally important insight into a given condition.
70) The relative interpretation of minimal risk, however, specifically permits a lowering of the level of protection extended based on a group's diminished health status or life circumstances.
73) Hence it seems that the relative interpretation of minimal risk as a limit on research with the vulnerable also fails by the standard of justice.
75) Indeed, on investigation it appears that defenders and critics of the relative interpretation share more in common than first appears.
In this sense, both proponents and critics of the relative interpretation agree in the case of "therapeutic" research to using the term "minimal risk" as what we might call a kind of "regulatory fiction.
It is possible that such complacency with this shared feature of the relative interpretation of minimal risk and clinical equipoise is related to the common mistake of understanding such research risk as substitutive.
While research ethics guidelines and regulations may need to specify more rigorous limits to "minimal risk" than the phrase carries in ordinary language, the relative interpretation defines these words such that what would not be labelled "minimal risk" in ordinary language would be labelled "minimal risk" in its technical sense.

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