STAT News | Cancer centers sell out science when they advertise clinical trials as treatment

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Published: 25Apr2018

 

By Jonathan Kimmelman, associate professor at McGill University and director of its Biomedical Ethics Unit, and Alex John London (Carnegie Mellon) 

There is a lot of money behind providing cancer care, and cancer treatment centers spend an estimated $173 million on advertising each year. One of the ways they compete for patients is by offering a menu of clinical trial options and suggesting that participating in such trials gives patients an edge on their care.

As we argue in a recent Viewpoint article in JAMA Oncology, such messaging is not only misleading but also undermines the very norms of science that clinical trials — and cancer centers themselves — are supposed to advance.

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