A New York Times article recently discussed an important issue is medical experimentation-what to do when new medical trials don’t work. Headlines are often littered with news of medical breakthroughs and new drugs that are supposed to help patients deal with previously untreatable problems. However, before reaching those important milestones, potential new treatments must go through various trial stages to test their usefulness.
Entire businesses have developed around finding patients to enroll in clinical trials for new drugs. Many patients and their families are very eager to join these projects, willing to do whatever it takes to find cures for their ailments. But hidden behind the glamor of new medical cures is the reality that many of these trials simply do not work. In fact, at times the new test drugs actually make patients worse.
Last week Eli Lilly, one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world, announced that it was halting two trials on what was previously a promising Alzheimer’s drug. Not only were the trial drugs not improving the test patients-it was actually making their condition worse. This is disappointing news and a sobering reminder of the risks associated with these new drug tests. It is extremely important for all patients who agree to take part in these trials to understand the potential for harm that exists any time medical professionals venture into uncharted waters.
These medical trials are important and necessary steps in improving the quality of healthcare. However, patients need to be fully informed about what they are getting into with these tests. Informed consent in this context should be the same as with any other medical procedure. Our Chicago medical malpractice lawyers at Levin & Perconti have fought for many victims of medical errors who did not give informed consent before the procedure that led to their harm. We fully support the same rights for those involved in medical drug trials.