March 14, 2014 | David

If I was severely ill, I'd want access to the best medicine. I'd feel terrible if I couldn't use a promising treatment because it was still being put through clinical trials.

A new scheme may allow seriously ill patients to take new drugs that are clinically safe, but haven't conclusively been proved effective. It's a tough call. On the one hand the new treatments could save or prolong lives. But thorough testing is crucial in medicine. Will this scheme lead to desperate people taking risks on unproved drugs?

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The drugs would be made available to patients with no other treatment options.

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2 comments on 'Faster access to new drugs'

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Charlotte

March 15, 2014 at 09:13

It would depend on what the other options are and should only be as part of a valid trial to test effectiveness.

Julie

March 14, 2014 at 19:21

It worries me that this could adversely affect pharmaceutical investment in developing treatments/medicines if they felt that it would become de rigeur to give relatively untested (widely) drugs to severely ill patients. By their very nature, we are talking about patients that are already immunocompromised and thus statistically success is not guaranteed. I would prefer for pharmaceutical companies to continue to break new ground and be more experimental in fighting disease without worrying that their drugs will be made available too soon. It only takes one or 2 deaths from a drug treatment released too early for the pharmaceutical company concerned to be crucified in the press and in the city; thus stunting future medicine developments.

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