Experimental cancer drugs harm far more people than they help, according to a study conducted by researchers from Duke University Medical Center and published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.
"This sounds a cautionary note," lead researcher Jeffrey Peppercorn said. "In most cases, we should refrain from using experimental drugs outside of clinical trials."
U.S. law allows doctors to prescribe any drug they wish, as long as the FDA has approved it for at least one use. As a consequence, as many as 20 percent of prescriptions in the United States are "off-label" - used on conditions for which they are not approved, or given in doses higher than the FDA has approved.'