Drugs for the Dying : Blog Of The Nation When a loved one faces a terminal illness, it's only natural to want to try whatever measures exist to get him/her some relief. One place to turn for hope is to drugs still in the testing process, or clinical tria
NPR logo

Listen to this 'Talk of the Nation' topic

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/12351864/12352783" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
Drugs for the Dying

Drugs for the Dying

Listen to this 'Talk of the Nation' topic

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/12351864/12352783" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

When a loved one faces a terminal illness, it's only natural to want to try whatever measures exist to get him/her some relief. One place to turn for hope is to drugs still in the testing process, or clinical trials. But drugs in the testing process are inherently risky — the tests are done to determine if a drug's benefits outweigh its downsides, and the point is that the drugmakers don't know exactly what to expect yet. These tests can be difficult to get into, though, and there's a real moral quandary: can a terminally ill patient make the best choices? And, on the flip side, is there any point in denying a potentially deadly drug to someone whose death is imminent anyway?