The Ethical Issues Behind Expanding the Right to Try Preapproval Drugs and Medical Devices
21 Pages Posted: 12 Jul 2018
Date Written: 11/29/2016
This paper looks at the ethical issues behind the right to try movement, which supports giving terminal patients access to drugs that have yet to be approved fully by the FDA. Even as momentum builds and more states pass right-to-try legislation, the discussion to this point has mostly addressed the political aspects of the debate to the exclusion of the ethical aspects. In this paper, I examine the ethics of the right to try, focusing on the contrast between (1) the individuals right of freedom regarding his or her body and health (and the states responsibility to support this) and (2) the states duty to protect its citizens from unwarranted harm from dangerous substances and procedures. Based on the ethical analysis, the paper makes several proposals for reform and also considers the equity issues invoked by alternative methods of financing the use of unapproved drugs and devices.
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