Clinical equipoise: Why still the gold standard for randomized clinical trials?

Clinical Ethics:1-11 (forthcoming)
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The principle of clinical equipoise has been variously characterized by ethicists and clinicians as fundamentally flawed, a myth, and even a moral balm. Yet, the principle continues to be treated as the de facto gold standard for conducting randomized control trials in an ethical manner. Why do we hold on to clinical equipoise, despite its shortcomings being widely known and well-advertised? This paper reviews the most important arguments criticizing clinical equipoise as well as what the most prominent proposed alternatives are. In the process, it evaluates the justification for continuing to use clinical equipoise as the gold standard for randomized control trials.

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Hugh Desmond
Leibniz Universität Hannover

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