Decisions regarding the legislation of drugs such as laetrile require a careful analysis of the concept of terminal. If “terminal” is characterized to allow for a time span between diagnosis and death, and if cure is not taken as a paramount goal of a drug, then safety and effectiveness may apply to drugs used for the terminal. If this is so, then arguments for allowing laetrile use will have to appeal to principles of freedom and medical sociology and not to a traditional analysis of safety and effectiveness.
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Copyright © 1980 by the Dept. of Health Administration, Duke University