9 Aug 2022


A Right to Experimental Drugs

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Academic level: College

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Ethical issues in use of unproven drugs 

The field of medicine has a wide application of morality in work place. The gravity of matters in this area is either life or death; hence, it calls upon the medical professionals to have a code of ethics which they need to follow as they carry on with their work. However much the laws have been enforced and ethical matters are given weight in this field; ripples effects of the ethics violations are still felt. One such ethical issue which has been reported severally in the medical field is the issue of the unproven drugs. 

In this issue of the untested drugs, there are critical theories and ethical principles which need critical analysis to determine whether or not the action is ethical violations. Four moral principles are provided by the World Health Organization which is used to assess whether or not the action of the unproven medication is ethical or not. There is also the freedom of choice on whether the direction of the treatment should be taken or not. Furthermore, there is the issue of transparency where the provider makes it clear to the patient on the implication of the medication they are about to take and lastly, community involvement in the entire treatment effort ( Torabi-Parisi et al., 2015). 

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Inform consent 

Before using the unproven drugs to make any treatment decision, it is morally upright for the professional to have the drug subjected to lab test for approval. This is to ensure that safety and standards are upheld. The medical practitioner is obliged to give the data about the unproven drugs gathered and shredded accordingly for ethical decision making before using ( Kim & Miller, 2015). 

On the patient side, the consent is very paramount in this case. The patient has to offer a willing permission to be able to have treatment to a drug which is unproved. Informed consent guides the entire process of getting the permission from the patient. The principle of inform consent has it that before treatment commences, the patient need to be given permission to understanding the implications of the treatment ( Faden et al ., 2014). This applies to the use of unproven drug too. The patient has to be informed on the implication of the use of unproven drugs on his/her health. Only then should treatment using such drug commence. 


The availability of the unproven medicinal products for the patient to use has both costs and benefits as the consequences. The obvious befits is that in the case of the approval of the utilization of the unproven drugs is successful, many lives can be saved. This can be beneficial especially on the outbreak of critical life mauling disease such as Ebola whose alternative drugs have not been tested or proven. However, the benefits cannot be celebrated yet as the drugs are yet to be a proved. This means that there are potential of the drugs proving otherwise regarding side effects. In case such drugs are used, it means that if they have common adverse side effects, then a large number of people can be affected. Alternatively, this outbreak will kill many since the drugs may not be suspected. 


The argument on this matter exists. Those who are against the use of unproven drugs claim that it has many unproven risks. To them, the provision will put more lives in danger. Those for the provision sight the individuals who have no alternative medications and hence claim that it should be given a chance for inclusivity ( Dennis & Cha, 2014). Example this site is the outbreak of the disease such as Ebola whose proper medications are still not approved, yet have a potential of helping the victims. 


Dennis, B., & Cha, A. E. (2014). ’Right to Try’laws spur debate over dying patients’ access to experimental drugs. The Washington Post

Faden, R. R., Beauchamp, T. L., & Kass, N. E. (2014). Informed consent, comparative effectiveness, and learning health care. N Engl J Med , 370 (8), 766-768. 

Kim, S. Y., & Miller, F. G. (2015). Informed consent for pragmatic trials: The integrated consent model. 

Torabi-Parizi, P., Davey, R. T., Suffredini, A. F., & Chertow, D. S. (2015). Ethical and practical considerations in providing critical care to patients with Ebola virus disease. Chest , 147 (6), 1460-1466. 

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StudyBounty. (2023, September 14). A Right to Experimental Drugs.


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