Via Vox.com, Julia Belluz writes: The awful ethical questions at the center of the Ebola emergency. Excerpt:
The Ebola outbreak in Africa has confronted ethicists and health officials with a terrible dilemma: when a limited amount of an experimental treatment exists, who should get access first?
There are currently no Ebola treatments on the market. But in this deadliest Ebola outbreak in history, two Americans missionaries received an experimental Ebola drug called ZMapp after getting the disease in Liberia.
Now, infectious disease experts around the world are proclaiming that African Ebola victims should have the same right. In response, both the Obama administration and the World Health Organization set-up expert groups to weigh the moral debates around the more widespread use of untested drugs in what has now been deemed an international health crisis.
To make sense of the thorny problems at the heart of this outbreak's morality crisis, we called medical ethicists and doctors. Here are the four questions they say they are grappling with.
Is it okay to skip the drug testing pathway in a crisis?Why did Americans get an experimental drug while hundreds of Africans die of Ebola?What if the Ebola drug doesn't work?Who should fund access to Ebola medicines?