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: The meaning and application of the principle of beneficence to issues in health care is rarely clear or certain. Although the principle is frequently employed to justify a variety of actions and inactions, very little has been done from a conceptual point of view to test its relevance to these behaviors or to explore its relationship to other moral principles that also might be called upon to guide or justify conduct. Perhaps more than any other, the principle of benefÂ icence seems particularly appropriate to contexts of health care in which two or more parties interact from positions of relative strength and weakness, advantage and need, to pursue some perceived goal. It is among those moral principles that Tom L. Beauchamp and James F. Childress selected in their textbook on bioethics as applicable to biomedicine in general and relevant to a range of specific issues (, pp. 135-167). More narrowly, The National Commission for the Protection of Human Subjects of Biomedical and BehavÂ ioral Research identified beneficence as among those moral principles that have particular relevance to the conduct of research involving humans (2). Thus, the principle of beneficence is seen as pertinent to the routine delivery of health care, the discovery of new therapies, and the rationale of public policies related to health care.