Abstract: Natural born doctors are rare. Usually learning curves are part of the normal process of gaining experience. But learning curves in medical practice, e.g. surgery, with their potentially time-consuming, low-quality and risky circumstances affect real patients. There has been a philosophical debate about the moral justification for trainee doctors to gain that experience and for physicians in general when entirely new medical techniques are introduced. Pharmacological novelties, on the other hand, seem safe. They have extensively been tested in clinical trials. In this paper I want to contest that – in terms of learning curves - the clinical introduction of new medication is different from apprehending medical techniques. If that is true, this problem has not yet been acknowledged by pharmacological research ethics.
Dr Davinia Talbot has graduated in Medicine and Philosophy and is research fellow at the Institute for Ethics, History and Theory of Medicine at Muenster University as well as practising anaesthetist at St. Barbara-Klinik Hamm (Germany).