Journal article

The ethics of future trials: qualitative analysis of physicians' decision making

Fiona Webster, Charles Weijer, Laura Todd, Jeremy M Grimshaw, Andrea P Marshall, Deborah Cook, Graeme MacLennan, Brian H Cuthbertson, Jill J Francis

TRIALS | BMC | Published : 2016


BACKGROUND: The decision to conduct a randomized controlled trial (RCT) in a field raises ethical as well as scientific issues. From the clinical equipoise literature, future trials are justifiable if there is "honest, professional disagreement in the community of expert practitioners as to the preferred treatment". Empirical data are sparse about how clinicians apply the principles of equipoise to the justification of future RCTs. For example, selective decontamination of the digestive tract (SDD) is not widely used in critical care practice despite the strength of the evidence base and therefore provides a unique opportunity to learn how clinicians think about the ethics of further RCTs in..

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University of Melbourne Researchers


Awarded by National Institute for Health Research

Awarded by Chief Scientist Office

Funding Acknowledgements

The SuDDICU collaboration is a collaboration of the Canadian Critical Care Trials Group (CCCTG), the UK Critical Care Research Forum, and the Australia and New Zealand Clinical Trials Group (ANZICS CTG) and is supported by all three organizations. The Health Services Research Unit at the University of Aberdeen is core funded by the Chief Scientist Office of the Scottish Government Health Directorates. Views expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the view of the Chief Scientist Office. We acknowledge the support of a Canadian Institutes of Health Research operating grant. The UK arm of this project was funded in the UK by the NIHR Health Technology Assessment programme and is published in full in the Health Technology Assessment journal series at Visit the HTA Programme website for more details at The views and opinions expressed therein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the UK Department of Health. We acknowledge the support of the UK Intensive Care Foundation. We acknowledge the support of an Australian Intensive Care Foundation grant and an Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists grant.