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Running head: THE MORAL RIGHT TO UNPROVEN DRUGS 1
The moral right to unproven drugs:
Name:
Institution affiliation:
Date:
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THE MORAL RIGHT TO UNPROVEN DRUGS 2
Introduction
There are several stages of clinical testing through which a new drug must pass through
before it receives market approval. The stages usually consume a lot of time to the extent that
terminally ill patients with no other treatment option may end up never benefiting from the drug.
For these reasons, the only hope for such patients may be on an experimental drug, which they
can only access if they participate in randomized controlled trials. However, the randomized
aspect of the trials prevents most terminally ill patients from being able to participate in the
trials. In this paper, the issue of whether or not patients with no other treatment options have the
moral right to unproven drugs will be explained.
Ethical theories and moral principles
The first ethical theory that is relevant to this issue is the utilitarianism theory, which
emphasizes on choosing an action that will result in the greatest amount of benefit. Therefore, as
per this theory, patients with no other treatment option have a moral right to unproven drugs
because they are bound to die. Thus, even if the drug does not end up saving their life, they will
still end up aid in determining its effectiveness. A moral principle supported by this theory is the
principle of beneficence since it seeks to ensure that actions that are decided upon will result do
more good than harm (Munson, 2014). For instance, a doctor may enroll a terminally ill patient
in a randomized trial for an unproven drug without seeking consent if such an action may
improve a patient's health or if it may be beneficial to other people in the future.
Other ethical theories that are also relevant to this issue include Ross and Kant's theories
that emphasize the need for decisions to be made based on what is right rather than what is useful
(Munson, 2014). Therefore, unlike the utilitarianism theory that asserts that patients with no
other treatment options have a moral right to unproven drugs, these two theories do not instantly
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THE MORAL RIGHT TO UNPROVEN DRUGS 3
support this point of view because it is not right. The moral principles supported by these two
theories include the need to treat everyone as autonomous moral agents, and also for informed
consent to be sought out when intending to subject patients to unproven drugs (Raus, 2016). For
instance, doctors should ensure that patients with no other treatment options who are considering
unproven drugs are aware of the fact that the drugs may end up not improving their health.
Therefore, a patient ends up making a voluntary decision to use unproven drugs.
The principle of informed consent
An ethical and moral principle that is relevant to the issue of whether or not patients with
no other treatment options have the moral right to unproven drugs is the principle of informed
consent. Before a person can legitimately be subjected to any medical treatment, informed
consent is one of the essential requirements. Informed consent seeks to ensure that a patient is
aware of the risks and benefits associated with an unproven treatment option before deciding to
use it. Therefore, as long as a patient with no other treatment option is aware of the risks and
benefits associated with an unproven drug, they have a moral right to unproven drugs. For
instance, a medical researcher is required to recognize a patient's autonomy, i.e., the right to
make decisions that govern their own life when they want to include them in their medical
research. This recognition of an individual's autonomy implies that they should not make a
decision for a patient to join their research, but instead, they should provide them with the
necessary information that will enable a patient to make their own independent decision (Raus,
2016).
The costs and benefits of making unproven experimental drugs widely available to patients.
There are several costs associated with making unproven, unapproved experimental drugs
widely available to patients. Firstly, patients with no other treatment option may end up incurring
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THE MORAL RIGHT TO UNPROVEN DRUGS 4
higher costs that were involved in the production of the drugs, which manufacturers have to
transfer to them for them to generate a profit. However, with the drugs being unproven, patients
may end up not realizing anticipated health improvements. Secondly, According to Miller et al.
(2017), about 25 percent of experimental drugs end up not receiving market approval. Therefore,
there is a high likelihood that manufacturing companies may incur heavy losses if they
manufacture more of an experimental drug simply because patients have a right to unproven
drugs that may end up not receiving market approval.
On the other hand, as asserted by Miller et al. (2017), that about 76 percent of
experimental drugs end up receiving market approval, it implies that experimental drugs can be
beneficial to patients with no other treatment option, in terms of improving their overall health.
Additionally, researchers may gain first-hand insights into the effect of an experimental drug on
human beings, and thus being in a position to improve the drug that will end up benefiting
patients in the future.
Conclusion
In summary, views against offering pre-approved drugs to wider pools of patients are
mainly attributed to costs they may bring to the patients and manufacturing companies. Such
views are supported by Ross and Kant's theories that advocate for an action to be right rather
than useful. Additionally, those against the move to offer pre-approved drugs to wider pools of
patients with no other treatment option, point to the fact that such patients are not rational
because of being of having few options and thus should be regarded to lack the ability to provide
informed consent. However, I am of the view that as long as informed consent is sought out from
patients, then they have a moral right to unproven drugs that may end up improving their health.
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THE MORAL RIGHT TO UNPROVEN DRUGS 5
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THE MORAL RIGHT TO UNPROVEN DRUGS 6
References
Miller, J., Ross, J., Moch, K., & Caplan, A. (2017). Characterizing expanded access and
compassionate use programs for experimental drugs. BMC Research Notes, 10(1). doi:
10.1186/s13104-017-2687-5
Munson, R. (2014). Intervention and reflection: basic issues in bioethics (concise Ed.). Boston,
MA: Wadsworth.
Raus, K. (2016). An analysis of common ethical justifications for compassionate use programs
for experimental drugs. BMC Medical Ethics, 17(1). doi: 10.1186/s12910-016-0145-x

Unformatted Attachment Preview

Running head: THE MORAL RIGHT TO UNPROVEN DRUGS The moral right to unproven drugs: Name: Institution affiliation: Date: 1 THE MORAL RIGHT TO UNPROVEN DRUGS 2 Introduction There are several stages of clinical testing through which a new drug must pass through before it receives market approval. The stages usually consume a lot of time to the extent that terminally ill patients with no other treatment option may end up never benefiting from the drug. For these reasons, the only hope for such patients may be on an experimental drug, which they can only access if they participate in randomized controlled trials. However, the randomized aspect of the trials prevents most terminally ill patients from being able to participate in the trials. In this paper, the issue of whether or not patients with no other treatment options have the moral right to unproven drugs will be explained. Ethical theories and moral principles The first ethical theory that is relevant to this issue is the utilitarianism theory, which emphasizes on choosing an action that will result in the greatest amount of benefit. Therefore, as per this theory, patients with no other treatment option have a moral right to unproven drugs because they are bound to die. Thus, even if the drug does not end up saving their life, they will still end up aid in determining its effectiveness. A moral principle supported by this theory is the principle of beneficence since it seeks to ensure that actions that are decided upon will result do more good than harm (Munson, 2014). For instance, a doctor may enroll a terminally ill patient in a randomized trial for an unproven drug without seeking consent if such an action may improve a patient's health or if it may be beneficial to other people in the future. Other ethical theories that are also relevant to this issue include Ross and Kant's theories that emphasize the need for decisions to be made based on what is right rather than what is useful (Munson, 2014). Therefore, unlike the utilitarianism theory that asserts that patients with no other treatment options have a moral right to unproven drugs, these two theories do not instantly THE MORAL RIGHT TO UNPROVEN DRUGS 3 support this point of view because it is not right. The moral principles supported by these two theories include the need to treat everyone as autonomous moral agents, and also for informed consent to be sought out when intending to subject patients to unproven drugs (Raus, 2016). For instance, doctors should ensure that patients with no other treatment options who are considering unproven drugs are aware of the fact that the drugs may end up not improving their health. Therefore, a patient ends up making a voluntary decision to use unproven drugs. The principle of informed consent An ethical and moral principle that is relevant to the issue of whether or not patients with no other treatment options have the moral right to unproven drugs is the principle of informed consent. Before a person can legitimately be subjected to any medical treatment, informed consent is one of the essential requirements. Informed consent seeks to ensure that a patient is aware of the risks and benefits associated with an unproven treatment option before deciding to use it. Therefore, as long as a patient with no other treatment option is aware of the risks and benefits associated with an unproven drug, they have a moral right to unproven drugs. For instance, a medical researcher is required to recognize a patient's autonomy, i.e., the right to make decisions that govern their own life when they want to include them in their medical research. This recognition of an individual's autonomy implies that they should not make a decision for a patient to join their research, but instead, they should provide them with the necessary information that will enable a patient to make their own independent decision (Raus, 2016). The costs and benefits of making unproven experimental drugs widely available to patients. There are several costs associated with making unproven, unapproved experimental drugs widely available to patients. Firstly, patients with no other treatment option may end up incurring THE MORAL RIGHT TO UNPROVEN DRUGS 4 higher costs that were involved in the production of the drugs, which manufacturers have to transfer to them for them to generate a profit. However, with the drugs being unproven, patients may end up not realizing anticipated health improvements. Secondly, According to Miller et al. (2017), about 25 percent of experimental drugs end up not receiving market approval. Therefore, there is a high likelihood that manufacturing companies may incur heavy losses if they manufacture more of an experimental drug simply because patients have a right to unproven drugs that may end up not receiving market approval. On the other hand, as asserted by Miller et al. (2017), that about 76 percent of experimental drugs end up receiving market approval, it implies that experimental drugs can be beneficial to patients with no other treatment option, in terms of improving their overall health. Additionally, researchers may gain first-hand insights into the effect of an experimental drug on human beings, and thus being in a position to improve the drug that will end up benefiting patients in the future. Conclusion In summary, views against offering pre-approved drugs to wider pools of patients are mainly attributed to costs they may bring to the patients and manufacturing companies. Such views are supported by Ross and Kant's theories that advocate for an action to be right rather than useful. Additionally, those against the move to offer pre-approved drugs to wider pools of patients with no other treatment option, point to the fact that such patients are not rational because of being of having few options and thus should be regarded to lack the ability to provide informed consent. However, I am of the view that as long as informed consent is sought out from patients, then they have a moral right to unproven drugs that may end up improving their health. THE MORAL RIGHT TO UNPROVEN DRUGS 5 THE MORAL RIGHT TO UNPROVEN DRUGS References Miller, J., Ross, J., Moch, K., & Caplan, A. (2017). Characterizing expanded access and compassionate use programs for experimental drugs. BMC Research Notes, 10(1). doi: 10.1186/s13104-017-2687-5 Munson, R. (2014). Intervention and reflection: basic issues in bioethics (concise Ed.). Boston, MA: Wadsworth. Raus, K. (2016). An analysis of common ethical justifications for compassionate use programs for experimental drugs. BMC Medical Ethics, 17(1). doi: 10.1186/s12910-016-0145-x 6 Name: Description: ...
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