First, do no harm,” is a critical dictum in medical practice. Medical practitioners from ancient times to the present have used individual and shared scientific observations to determine the risks and benefits of individual therapies. However, the yield in this somewhat random process is certainly low. Since the development of the modern pharmaceutical industry as well as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as a regulatory agency, we as a medical and scientific community have been held to higher standards to provide proof of safety and efficacy of new treatments through randomized clinical trials.
Narayanan R, Kuppermann BD. Uncertain Compassion in Using a Drug Before the Risks and Benefits Are Known. Arch Ophthalmol. 2006;124(7):1032-1034. doi:10.1001/archopht.124.7.1032