Listen to this 'Talk of the Nation' topic
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?