Education And Debate

Drug companies have a duty to continue treatment

BMJ 1997; 314 doi: (Published 22 March 1997) Cite this as: BMJ 1997;314:889
  1. Sean Emery, clinical trials coordinatora,
  2. David A Cooper, directora
  1. a National Centre in HIV Epidemiology and Clinical Research University of New South Wales Sydney NSW 2010 Australia
  1. Correspondence to: Professor Cooper


    There is growing interest from the pharmaceutical industry to sponsor clinical research and development in the developing nations of the world. This expansion is a direct response to the critical need for companies to reduce their development times, thus extending the time over which a product might make a financial return on investment. In supporting such research and development, industry plays an important role in developing further the healthcare systems of selected countries. Research supports the development of infrastructure and enhances the training and experience of healthcare professionals. In return, data that define the potential clinical value of new treatments are generated.

    This reciprocity is threatened by problems such as the ethical dilemma identified by Professor Cleaton-Jones. The continued provision of study treatment to participants of a trial, as deemed necessary by the treating clinician, after the trial has ended is clearly a complex issue. Resolution will require …

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