Do Today’s Medical Ethics Prevent New Breakthroughs?

This piece at Pajamas Media identifies a sticky medical problem: As medical progress prolongs life, new medications and procedures that might further prolong life become more risky, because patients have more to lose. Thus, the more medicine progresses, the more difficult additional progress becomes.

The thread by which human life hangs has become distinctly thicker in the last century, and therefore the premature loss of life seems anomalous. The more life we have, the more precious it seems to us, or at any rate the worse the loss of it.
Medical ethics, then, have of necessity changed with the times. A recent editorial in the New England Journal of Medicine discusses the ethical problems of studying the safety of new drugs once they have been licensed for use and marketed…

One thought on “Do Today’s Medical Ethics Prevent New Breakthroughs?

  1. Louise

    The pursuit of longevity at any cost. I’ll take quality over quantity:

    ‘Thou shalt not kill; but need’st not strive
    Officiously to keep alive:’

    The Last Decalogue,
    Arthur Hugh Clough


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