Cancer therapy

Suppose a new cancer therapy is being tested in a large clinical trial. The therapy is working well; it seems that it is extending the lives of patients suffering from a deadly form of cancer. But the results are not yet statistically significant and there’s a small chance the extended lives is just a coincidence. The trial is stopping so that those who are not getting the therapy – those in the control arm – can be given the new therapy, so everyone can benefit. The physician-researchers directing the trial claim that stopping the trial before it provides statistically-significant data – before they can prove the drug is really the reason people are living longer – might in fact delay the therapy’s wider use (for example, getting FDA approval). Evaluate the moral implications of stopping the new cancer therapy versus the moral implications of continuing it. Be explicit in your use of the moral principles in your answer.

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