Should terminally ill patients have the right to try risky, non FDA approved drugs? Or should they have to wait on the FDA approval process, which can take several years, in order to get access to potentially life-saving drugs? What if patients are just sick, but not terminally ill—should they have access to experimental, non FDA approved drugs? Economics Professor Howard Baetjer went to Towson University in Baltimore, Maryland to ask students what they think about these tough questions.
He asked them to consider:
Why should we prevent patients who are already going to die from taking medication which could save them, or at least ease their suffering? What harm could it do?
Should we treat everyone equally? Or should we treat terminally ill patients differently from patients who are just sick?
The FDA’s approval process takes years–this means that thousands could die waiting for the FDA to approve the drugs that would save them. How does it make you feel that people who want to try these risky, but potentially life-saving drugs, can’t get access to them?