Josh Hardy is a cute 7-year-old boy who is dying of a rare cancer. His doctors think an anti-viral medicine could help him, but it hasn't been approved by the FDA, so they couldn't give it to him. Then his family began a campaign via social media and shows like "Good Morning America" to convince the small pharmaceutical company that makes the medicine to give it to Josh anyway. A few days ago, Chimerix announced that Josh's story had convinced the FDA to allow it to launch a clinical trial for 20 patients, including Josh.
What about all the other people who need help but don't have the wherewithal to launch a publicity campaign like Josh's family? Should a small company like Chimerix just give its drug away out of compassion? How long do FDA trials take? Does this remind anyone else of "Dallas Buyers Club"?
On my America Weekend show, I discussed all of this with bioethicist Art Caplan. Listen, then click here to subscribe to these podcasts via iTunes!