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Should a doctor prescribe hormone replacement therapy which has been manufactured from mare's urine?
  1. D Cox
  1. Cambridge University Clinical School.


    Many clinicians are experiencing consumer resistance to the prescription of equine HRT (that is hormone replacement therapy which has been manufactured from mare's urine). In this paper I consider the ethical implications of prescribing these preparations. I decide that patients should have a right to refuse such treatment but also ask whether a prescribing doctor should choose one preparation over another on moral grounds. I determine that there is prima facie evidence to suggest that mares may suffer and that prescription of equine HRT (instead of synthetic oestrogen-oestriol) would therefore have to be justified in terms of either offering greater benefits to the women or offering greater value for money to the health service. I find that there is no substantial evidence to suggest that equine HRT offers unique advantages over and above oestriol. I conclude that it would be preferable for a doctor to recommend the synthetic oestrogen to women who want relief from the symptoms of the menopause and protection from osteoporosis and cardiovascular disease.

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