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(Ethical or Unethical) Placebo testing new cancer drugs on terminally ill patients

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posted on Jun, 9 2004 @ 09:10 AM
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Here I will take a quote from an article that I read.


The process for testing new cancer drugs has become one big game. Companies test new treatments on patients with terminal cancer because these patients are easier to enroll in clinical trials since they have few attractive alternatives. It is also easier to prove marginal benefits, since these terminally ill patients do not need to be followed as long to prove a new treatment prolonged their lives by a few weeks over those receiving a sugarpill.
www.aei.org...


So basically they take a group of people terminally ill with cancer. They have a drug they think may extend the patients life or end the patients cancer. Then a few of the group will not receive the real drug just a sugar pill so they can test the effects of the drugs vs. the placebo effect. They need a control group basically. Human Guinea pigs in other words.

Now to be fair this method of testing drugs does get the drug to market faster. The question is whether or not it is moral to knowingly let someone perish when there are drugs that could be helping them. Put a family member of yours in the situation. You would want anything in the world to help them.

Heres another article on the ethics of testing drugs on people. This isn't just in cacer patients it also goes on with other terminally ill patients such as aids. I personally feel this is terrible.



[edit on 9-6-2004 by Hoppinmad1]




posted on Jun, 9 2004 @ 09:19 AM
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I think it is important to point out that subjects in a clinical trial involving a placebo control group are required to understand the risks associate via the process of informed consent


Informed consent is the process of learning the key facts about a clinical trial before deciding whether or not to participate. It is also a continuing process throughout the study to provide information for participants. To help someone decide whether or not to participate, the doctors and nurses involved in the trial explain the details of the study. If the participant's native language is not English, translation assistance can be provided. Then the research team provides an informed consent document that includes details about the study, such as its purpose, duration, required procedures, and key contacts. Risks and potential benefits are explained in the informed consent document. The participant then decides whether or not to sign the document. Informed consent is not a contract, and the participant may withdraw from the trial at any time.

Source: ClinicalTrials.gov



posted on Jun, 9 2004 @ 09:39 AM
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Using terminally ill patients to test drugs on is not one of the more pleasent concepts, but the drugs have to be tested somehow. Seeings how these people are bound to die soon anyways...why not?



posted on Jun, 9 2004 @ 10:10 AM
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As long as there is no discrimination in who is in the placebo group and who is the control group I see no problem with this. The only point in which it becomes an issue is if the tested drug turns out to be a miracle cure and those who got the drug benefitted and those in placebo group were harmed. Since that is not likely and since they patients know they have a 50/50 shot at being in the placebo group when they signed up, there's not really anything that wrong here. I didn't get the feeling from your article that anyone was being mislead.



posted on Jun, 9 2004 @ 06:39 PM
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I feel that these people are desperate for anything to help them. Is it wrong for scientists to take advantage of that. Is it ethical for some scientist to knowingly choose who is going to die and who may live an extra few months. This is a hard subject to decide on. I can't really make up my mind. Knowing others will benefit is the drug works because it can go to market faster, but then knowing others could have lived if they had the real medicine.



posted on Jun, 9 2004 @ 06:40 PM
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The patients willingly sign up knowing that they have a chance of being given nothing but a placebo. Nobody's duping anybody. There is nothing unethical about this.



posted on Jun, 9 2004 @ 06:43 PM
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Originally posted by Hoppinmad1
I feel that these people are desperate for anything to help them. Is it wrong for scientists to take advantage of that. Is it ethical for some scientist to knowingly choose who is going to die and who may live an extra few months.


In a double blind study the doctors do not know who is getting the drug and who is getting the placebo. I have heard of studies where the drug seemed to be working well and they then gave it to everyone in the test.



posted on Jun, 9 2004 @ 06:53 PM
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Originally posted by Valhall
The patients willingly sign up knowing that they have a chance of being given nothing but a placebo. Nobody's duping anybody. There is nothing unethical about this.


Agreed- and sometimes, dontcha know, the placebo effect works wonders. It's been this way for quite some time- the question of medical testing, at least. Trust me, the alternative isn't quite so hot either. With the placebo drug, one can measure the effects as compared to the psychosematic effects.

DE



posted on Jun, 9 2004 @ 07:26 PM
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My mother was diagnosed with 4th stage colon cancer. There was no hope for her. She willingly signed up for the first clinical trials on the drug that is now being touted as a potential "wonder drug." We knew that she would not get better with coventional chemotherapy and we also understood that this drug would, most likely, not help her significantly. But, there was an outside chance AND she felt strongly, as we all did, that at least her illness might benefit others someday.
The drug, she was given, must have been the real thing. It did reduce the tumor size, but not enough to keep her in the program. She then underwent conventional chemo and died soon afterwards.
I don't feel she was a guinea pig or that anythign unethical was done. WE knew the risks and she made a very informed consent. I rest easier knowing that, in some small way, the ravages of her illness might have helped others someday in the future.
joey



posted on Jun, 9 2004 @ 07:41 PM
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Lets understand that to be in a trial you have to consent and be willing.

If I become sick with a terminal illness I will go into clinical trials, some of this trials have extended peoples life.

This is not a matter of right or wrong but of personal choice.



posted on Feb, 21 2009 @ 11:16 AM
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Text[color=_javascript:icon('
')Purple]Text Purple
I dont think that using placebos is a good thing

My sisters been prescribed these sugar pills instead of anti depressants!



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