Uncertainty and the ethics of clinical trials

Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 27 (2):149-167 (2006)

Authors
Sven Ove Hansson
Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm
Abstract
A probabilistic explication is offered of equipoise and uncertainty in clinical trials. In order to be useful in the justification of clinical trials, equipoise has to be interpreted in terms of overlapping probability distributions of possible treatment outcomes, rather than point estimates representing expectation values. Uncertainty about treatment outcomes is shown to be a necessary but insufficient condition for the ethical defensibility of clinical trials. Additional requirements are proposed for the nature of that uncertainty. The indecisiveness of our criteria for cautious decision-making under uncertainty creates the leeway that makes clinical trials defensible.
Keywords cautiousness  clinical decision-making  clinical trials  equipoise  uncertainty
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DOI 10.1007/s11017-006-0001-y
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References found in this work BETA

Rehabilitating Equipoise.Paul B. Miller & Charles Weijer - 2003 - Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal 13 (2):93-118.

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Citations of this work BETA

Do We Need a Special Ethics for Research?Sven Ove Hansson - 2011 - Science and Engineering Ethics 17 (1):21-29.
Hypothetical Retrospection.Sven Ove Hansson - 2007 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 10 (2):145-157.
Praxis Relevance in Science.Sven Ove Hansson - 2007 - Foundations of Science 12 (2):139-154.
Three Worries About Three Arguments for Research Exceptionalism.Stephen John - 2010 - American Journal of Bioethics 10 (8):67-69.

View all 6 citations / Add more citations

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