By J. Marshall
The Neuroethics Blog
Originally posted September 10, 2013
The plot of a recent Hollywood thriller, Side Effects, revolves around many pressing legal and ethical questions surrounding the use of anti-depressant medications. The movie explores the life of a supposedly depressed woman—Emily Taylor—who seeks treatment from her psychiatrist. Emily’s doctor prescribes her an anti-depressant—Ablixa. Emily then proceeds to murder her husband in cold blood while under the influence of the drug. The movie seeks to explore the culpability of this depressed woman in a legal sense. During the trial, the psychiatrist argues that neither he nor Emily Taylor is responsible; rather, Emily Taylor was simply “a hopeless victim of circumstance and biology.” Is it possible that a drug could be responsible for one’s actions as argued by the psychiatrist in the movie? The answer is not clear. Nonetheless, the possibility that someone could escape criminal punishment due to a certain anti-depressant represents a serious ethical quandary that should be examined.
The entire blog post is here.