Experimental treatments in oncology. Where are the ethical problems?

Ethik in der Medizin 10 (2):91-105 (1998)
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Abstract

Definition of the problem: A `experimental treatment' is defined as the use of a not yet approved medical treatment or product in a single patient outside the scope of regular clinical trials. Especially in oncology the patient is usually in a desperate situation and does not respond to other treatments. Even if he or she is fully informed about the risks he or she may occasionally make an irrational decision.Discussion of the problem: The moral problems in experimental treatments have to do with the medical and scientific quality of the treatment and the patient-physician relationship. It is argued that there are also moral duties for pharmaceutical manufacturers and health insurrance companies.Conclusion: A regulation of experimental treatment trials is necessary both for physicians and for pharmaceutical manufacturers

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