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Health policy

The right to try is embodied in the right to die

A patient's right to obtain medication that will be ineffective against his/her terminal illness and will cause his/her death should also encompass the right of that patient to be prescribed medication that might be ineffective and might cause his/her death. Indeed, the 'right to die' should embody the 'right to try' experimental agents for the treatment of cancer.

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Author information




All authors researched data for the article, contributed to discussion of its content, wrote the manuscript and reviewed/edited the article before submission. B.A.C.-K. and P.R.C. contributed equally to this work.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Benjamin A. Cohen-Kurzrock.

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Competing interests

R.K. receives research funds from Foundation Medicine, Genentech, Guardant, Merck Serono, Pfizer and Sequenom, consultant fees from Actuate Therapeutics and Sequenom, and has ownership interest in CureMatch and Novena. P.R.C. and B.A.C-K. declare no competing interests.

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Cohen-Kurzrock, B., Cohen, P. & Kurzrock, R. The right to try is embodied in the right to die. Nat Rev Clin Oncol 13, 399–400 (2016).

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