Friday, November 05, 2010
What if your doctor asks you to be in a study
My mother had a doctor who conducted studies for drug companies, in his office, using his patients—not just referred people to university studies.
I thought, hmmmm, say you have some serious disorder…If you like your doctor and enter the study, you will be informed that you may not get treatment, that you might get a fake pill. So your doctor, with your interests supposedly at heart, thinks it’s OK for you not to get treatment. (Sure, people are suggestible and placebos sometimes work, but that is not the point here.)
What do you think of this?
Apparently, a professor named Paul Litton, University of Missouri School of Law, thought this might be an ethics conflict—even a violation of the Hippocratic Oath.
The loyalty to a patient’s best interest may clash with the moral obligations to research participants. The interest in the case of research subjects, is not to further their best interests, but produce valid results.
Maybe in some cases, being in a study is the only way a patient can try an experimental drug (maybe). But this may also involve invasive testing or other things the patient may not need.
The paper was published in the J of the Am Med Assn, under the title “What Physician-Investigators Owe Patients who Participate in Research.”
I am pretty not onboard with this. If your doctor asks you to do it, think hard.