'Terminally ill patients are at risk of being used as “human guinea pigs” by doctors who want “research glory”, critics have warned.
Under “compassionate use” guidelines, doctors are allowed to use unapproved treatments on people with life-threatening conditions, as long as it is in the patient’s bets interests and they understand the risks.
But some experts say that this is open to abuse, particularly if doctors are also researchers in the same field of medicine. They say that this could lead to doctors encouraging patients to take part in risky operations in order to further their research goals.
Norman Lamb MP, a former health minister, has called for a review of compassionate use guidelines to ensure that any “dangerous practises” are rooted out.
Mr Lamb, who is chair of the science and technology health committee, said that during their inquiry into research integrity earlier this year, they “certainly came across risks of conflict of interest” associated with compassionate use cases.
“I absolutely think we need to review it, and make sure that there are proper processes in place to identify where these [conflicts] are. I certainly think it requires more thought and consideration,” he added.
He is calling for the establishment of a research integrity national committee which could “stamp out dangerous practises” like this.'
Read more: Terminally ill patients at risk of being used as 'human guinea pigs' by doctors who want 'research glory'
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