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In Italy, a few months, ago a topic about relationship between science and ethics has generated considerable attention and discussion: the possibility of using the so-called “expanded access”. Beyond the specific case, what citizens think about the opportunity that a seriously ill patient  undergoes therapies not tested in a definitive way? Only 13% believes that no one should be allowed to use no validated therapies. More than one in five thinks that a seriously ill patient should be able to use such a kind of therapy only if there is no other alternative. 63% of respondents endorses the opportunity that everyone decides autonomously for its own health, therefore believes that everyone should be free to use therapies that considers more appropriate, whether they are validated or not; a widespread opinion among people with low scientific competence, but a lot of confidence in science.

If a seriously ill patient wants to undergo therapies not validated yet … (%; n=1005)


Source: Observa Science in Society, Osservatorio Scienza Tecnologia e Società 2013,

Since 2002, the Science and Technology in Society Monitor has been the first permanent observatory on the attitudes of Italian public opinion towards research and technological innovation. The observatory is an initiative of Observa Science in Society, with the support of the Compagnia di San Paolo.

CATI survey conducted on a sample of 1.001 subjects, stratified by gender, age and geographical area of residence, representative of the Italian population aged 15 and over.

Observa Science in Society is a non-profit, independent, legally recognized research center promoting the study and discussion of the interaction among science, technology and society, with the aim of stimulating dialogue among researchers, policy makers and citizens.

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