Accessing unproven interventions in the COVID-19 pandemic: discussion on the ethics of ‘compassionate therapies’ in times of catastrophic pandemics

Shlomit Zuckerman, Yaron Barlavie, Yaron Niv, Dana Arad, Shaul Lev

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations

Abstract

Since the onset of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, an array of off-label interventions has been used to treat patients either provided as compassionate care or tested in clinical trials. There is a challenge in determining the justification for conducting randomised controlled trials over providing compassionate use in an emergency setting. A rapid and more accurate evaluation tool is needed to assess the effect of these treatments. Given the similarity to the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) pandemic in Africa in 2014, we suggest using a tool designed by the WHO committee in the aftermath of the EVD pandemic: Monitored Emergency Use of Unregistered and Investigational Interventions (MEURI). Considering the uncertainty around SARS-CoV-2, we propose using an improved MEURI including the Plan–Do–Study–Act tool. This combined tool may facilitate dynamic monitoring, analysing, re-evaluating and re-authorising emergency use of unproven treatments and repeat it in cycles. It will enable adjustment and application of outcomes to clinical practice according to changing circumstances and increase the production of valuable data to promote the best standard of care and high-quality research—even during a pandemic.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1000-1005
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Medical Ethics
Volume48
Issue number12
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2022

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