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Editor's Note
August 2015

Faster Drug Approvals Are Not Always Better and Can Be Worse

JAMA Intern Med. 2015;175(8):1398. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2015.2857

A shared goal of all health professionals is to relieve suffering and prolong life. At times these goals are at odds, particularly in oncology care. Patients with severe disease and low chance of survival may be offered therapies in the hope of buying a few more weeks or even months. However, the treatments themselves are often toxic, with many unpleasant adverse effects—nausea, pain, vomiting, hair loss, and others—that detract from quality of life and result in patients spending more time in the hospital and clinic and less time at home. It is a difficult choice: extend life, or offer higher quality of life at home.

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