Should the Government Insert Itself between Dying Patients and Unproven Therapies?

Policy Forum
September 25, 2007 12:00 PM to 1:30 PM EDT

1st floor/Wintergarden

Featuring J. Scott Ballenger, Partner, Latham & Watkins; Ezekiel J. Emanuel, Chair, Department of Clinical Bioethics, National Institutes of Health; and Michael F. Cannon, Director of Health Policy Studies, Cato Institute.

In Abigail Alliance for Better Access to Developmental Drugs v. Eschenbach, terminally ill patients won an impressive victory before a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. That panel ruled that when the government prevents terminally ill patients from accessing experimental drug treatments, it violates those patients’ constitutionally protected right to save their own lives. On appeal, however, an en banc opinion from the D.C. Circuit overturned the panel opinion, setting the stage for an appeal to the Supreme Court. Please join Michael F. Cannon, the Cato Institute’s director of health policy studies; Scott Ballenger, lead counsel for the Abigail Alliance; and Ezekiel Emanuel, a leading critic of the Abigail Alliance’s case as they discuss the economics, ethics, and constitutionality of allowing the state to stand between dying patients and unproven therapies.