Navigation Links
Should doctors tell patients about expensive, unfunded drugs?

It is unethical and paternalistic for doctors to withhold information from patients about new drugs that are not yet publicly funded, say researchers in this week's BMJ.

New drugs may be more effective than existing treatments, but many are very expensive and may not be available through publicly funded health schemes.

This raises several ethical dilemmas for doctors. Is it reasonable to ask a patient to finance the full cost of their treatment when it is not provided by government? Would it be unethical to raise the option of treatment with an unsubsidised drug?

Researchers surveyed 184 Australian cancer specialists about their opinions and practices regarding potentially useful but unsubsidised drugs.

A large proportion said they would not discuss an expensive drug with a patient if it were not subsidised because of potential psychological and emotional effects that these discussions might have on patients and their families. The survey also found that these discussions were stressful for clinicians.

But the authors argue that this practice fails to respect autonomy and may not be in the patient's best interests. They believe that withholding information on the basis of what a patient would want is "a dangerous medical path to unjustified paternalism."

A further ethical issue concerns the cost of publicly funding newer, expensive treatments, they write. This is an urgent question of distributing limited resources fairly that faces not just new drugs, but many forms of modern technological care. "The gap between what we can do and what we can afford will continue to grow, at a personal and community level."

The issue of accessing new expensive drugs has no easy solution, they say. Nevertheless, it seems unreasonable to withhold information from a patient about any potentially beneficial treatment because of concerns about capacity to pay, even if these discussions cause distress for some patients.

Society at large should discuss whether new, high-cost drugs should be publicly funded, they conclude.


Source:BMJ-British Medical Journal

Related biology news :

1. Survey reveals women and doctors arent talking about HPV
2. Efficiency, not more doctors, is the prescription for aging population
3. Stanford doctors advance in bid to turn mice stem cells into blood vessels
4. Patients and their doctors have different perceptions about HIV and its treatment
5. Free drug samples influence prescribing, say one in three doctors
6. Reminding doctors which antibiotics to prescribe cuts C. difficile infection rates
7. Genes and biomarkers that allow doctors to choose the right therapy for the right patient
8. Study identifies predictors of HIV drug resistance in patients beginning triple therapy
9. Potential Cure for Lymphoma in HIV patients
10. Ophthalmologists implant five patients with artificial silicon retina microchip
11. Technique may allow cancer patients to freeze eggs, preserving fertility before starting treatment
Post Your Comments:

(Date:11/11/2015)... Minn. , Nov. 11, 2015   MedNet Solutions ... entire spectrum of clinical research, is pleased to announce that ... in Clinical Trials (PCT) event, to be held November ... be able to view live demonstrations of iMedNet ... and learn how iMedNet has been able to ...
(Date:11/9/2015)... Nov. 09, 2015 ... of the "Global Law Enforcement Biometrics ... --> ) has announced ... Enforcement Biometrics Market 2015-2019" report to ... Markets ( ) has announced the ...
(Date:11/2/2015)... Calif. , Nov. 2, 2015  SRI International ... million to provide preclinical development services to the National ... contract, SRI will provide scientific expertise, modern testing and ... variety of preclinical pharmacology and toxicology studies to evaluate ... --> The PREVENT Cancer Drug Development Program ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/25/2015)... 2015 /PRNewswire/ - Aeterna Zentaris Inc. (NASDAQ:  AEZS; TSX: ... prospects remain fundamentally strong and highlights the following ... received DSMB recommendation to continue the ZoptEC Phase ... the final interim efficacy and safety data ... men with heavily pretreated castration- and Taxane-resistant prostate ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... 2015  Asia-Pacific (APAC) holds the third-largest share ... The trend of outsourcing to low-cost locations is ... volume share for the region in the short ... in the CRO industry will improve. ... ), finds that the market earned revenues ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... 2015 , ... Copper is an essential micronutrient that all ... copper is also toxic to cells. With a $1.3 million award from the ... a systematic study of copper in the bacteria Pseudomonas aeruginosa (P. aeruginosa), a ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... ... This fall, global software solutions leader SAP and AdVenture Capital brought together ... their BIG ideas to improve health and wellness in their schools. , Now, the ... title of SAP's Teen Innovator, an all-expenses paid trip to Super Bowl 50, and ...
Breaking Biology Technology: