The Medical Structure and Calculated Risk

The moral foundation of medicine is that it must, first of all, do no harm. By “harm” it means that no action of the physician or the researcher should harm the patient. This imposes a meticulous discipline on medicine. No drug is released until it is certain that it will do no harm. This requires meticulous testing and evaluation, and that takes time. Part of the medical research process is imposed by the complexity and mystery of the subject. Part of it is due to the moral aversion to risk. And that aversion to risk can turn a virtue into a vice.

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