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Crowdsourcing Medical Decisions:'An Impossible Moral Dilemma'

Monday, March 24, 2014   (0 Comments)
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Boy, 7, Gets Experimental Drug

Manufacturer Had Denied Others


Joshua Hardy, a seven-year-old boy who defeated cancer four times, is now hospitalized with a life-threatening infection after a bone marrow transplant. In the last two years, Chimerix, a small North Carolina pharmaceutical company, declined 200 applications for “compassionate use” of its still experimental antiviral drug. The boy’s family and countless supporters flooded the Internet with heart wrenching photos and pleas on the child’s behalf.  They bombarded Chimerix with calls and emails, and nearly 20,000 people signed a petition seeking help for Josh. The FDA, which heard of Josh’s plight through media, permitted a new pediatric clinical trial so Chemerix could provide the drug for Josh and as many as 19 other children and avoid "compassionate use,"  which differs from a clinical trial. “You couldn’t get a  more troubling and impossible to resolve moral dilemma,” said New York medical ethicist Arthur Caplan.  Read the Washington Post story by Ariana Eunjung Cha.

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