About this event

  • Date and time Tue 12 Mar 2019 from 9:30am to 5:00pm
  • Location Royal Society of Medicine
  • Organised by Medicine and Society

Compassion use has been rarely out of the news in the last year. Whilst recent high profile cases have involved children, compassionate use is by no means restricted to paediatrics, and stakeholders have much to learn from each other. 

The idea that a treatment that has not yet completed clinical trials can be made available in specified circumstances for patients in dire need is an appealing but problematic one. ’When should this ‘work-around’ be applied and when should it not?’ is a question that troubles patients and their families, clinicians, ethics committee members, regulators and the developers of those treatments.

Who should authorise compassionate use – clinical ethics or research ethics committees, patients or the judiciary?

This meeting will offer much-needed education on (and discussion of) the concept of ‘compassionate use,’ at the boundary between medical research and clinical practice. We anticipate that the day will be of educational interest to clinicians, members of legal and regulatory professions,patient advocates, ethicists, and members of the press. 

Speakers will address the issue from a number of relevant perspectives including: clinical, legal and regulatory, ethical, the media and commerce. The meeting is particularly relevant training for anyone who may potentially be involved in discussing, negotiating or reporting a ‘compassionate-use’ case.  

Topics include:

  • The issue of ‘compassionate use’ in healthcare including: concept, law, regulation, healthcare application, ethics, politics and public engagement.  
  • Sharing of expert knowledge from those who have situated experience of compassionate use in a professional context.  
  • The sources of ethical, regulatory and legal support for healthcare professionals, patients and other stakeholders involved in instances that can be defines as compassionate use in healthcare. 


View the programme

Registration, tea and coffee

Dr Paquita De Zulueta, President, Open Section, Royal Society of Medicine

Morning: Theory

Dr Andrew Papanikitas

An introduction to ‘Compassionate use’ and its close relatives in healthcare settings

Dr Nicola Stingelin

Encountering ‘Compassionate Use’ in Healthcare

Dr Ketan Shah, Consultant Clinical Oncologist, Company Name Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Tea and coffee break
Compassionate Use and the law in the UK

James Lawford Davies, Partner, Hempsons, London

What are the ethical debates around ‘Compassionate use’ in healthcare?

Professor Dominic Wilkinson, Director and Professor of Medical Ethics, University of Oxford, Consultant in newborn intensive care, John Radcliffe Hospital

Panel discussion

Dr Andrew Papanikitas, Nicola Stingelin, James Lawford Davies, Ketan Shah, Dominic Wilkinson


Afternoon: Practice

Dr Nicola Stingelin, Independent Research Ethics Advisor

The law in action - how do compassionate use cases unfold?

Vikram Sachdeva, QC

Compassionate use – which ethics committee and why?

Dr Anne-Marie Slowther, Reader in Clinical Ethics, Warwick Medical School and Clinical Ethicist, University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust

Tea and coffee break
Compassionate use - implications for industry

Dr Rav Seeruthen, Medical Director, Roche UK

Compassionate use – politics, public opinion and the media

Mr Tom Sheldon, Science Media Centre

Panel discussion

Chair Dr Nicola Stingelin, Mr Vikram Sachdeva, Professor Anne Slowther, Dr Rav Seeruthun, Mr Tom Sheldon

Close of meeting and online evaluations


Royal Society of Medicine, 1 Wimpole St, Marylebone, London, W1G 0AE, United Kingdom