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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