The just provision of health care: a reply to Elizabeth Telfer.
Dr Hillel Steiner in this reply to Elizabeth Telfer takes each of her arguments for different arrangements of a health service and examines them--'four positions which can be located on a linear ideological spectrum'--and adds a fifth which could have the effect of 'turning the alleged linear spectrum into a circle'. Underlying both Elizabeth Telfer's article and Dr Steiner's reply, the base is inescapably a 'political' one, but cannot be abandoned in favour of purely philosophical concepts. Whatever the attitude of mind of the reader of these two papers to the provision of a health service, the stimulus to more careful assessments of our own National Health Service and its problems can only be good. (+info)
Impact of therapeutic research on informed consent and the ethics of clinical trials: a medical oncology perspective.
PURPOSE: To create a more meaningful understanding of the informed consent process as it has come to be practiced and regulated in clinical trials, this discussion uses the experience gained from the conduct of therapeutic research that involves cancer patients. DESIGN: After an introduction of the ethical tenets of the consent process in clinical research that involves potentially vulnerable patients as research subjects, background that details the use of written consent documents and of the term "informed consent" is provided. Studies from the cancer setting that examine the inadequacies of written consent documents, and the outcome of the consent process itself, are reviewed. Two ethically challenging areas of cancer clinical research, the phase I trial and the randomized controlled trial, are discussed briefly as a means of highlighting many dilemmas present in clinical trials. Before concluding, areas for future research are discussed. RESULTS: Through an exclusive cancer research perspective, many current deficiencies in the informed consent process for therapeutic clinical trials can be critically examined. Also, new directions for improvements and areas of further research can be outlined and discussed objectively. The goals of such improvements and research should be prevention of further misguided or ineffective efforts to regulate the informed consent process. CONCLUSION: To ignore this rich and interesting perspective potentially contributes to continued misunderstanding and apathy toward fulfilling the regulatory and ethically obligatory requirements involved in an essential communication process between a clinician-investigator and a potentially vulnerable patient who is considering clinical trial participation. (+info)
The relation between funding by the National Institutes of Health and the burden of disease.
BACKGROUND: The Institute of Medicine has proposed that the amount of disease-specific research funding provided by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) be systematically and consistently compared with the burden of disease for society. METHODS: We performed a cross-sectional study comparing estimates of disease-specific funding in 1996 with data on six measures of the burden of disease. The measures were total mortality, years of life lost, and number of hospital days in 1994 and incidence, prevalence, and disability-adjusted life-years (one disability-adjusted life-year is defined as the loss of one year of healthy life to disease) in 1990. With the use of these measures as explanatory variables in a regression analysis, predicted funding was calculated and compared with actual funding. RESULTS: There was no relation between the amount of NIH funding and the incidence, prevalence, or number of hospital days attributed to each condition or disease (P=0.82, P=0.23, and P=0.21, respectively). The numbers of deaths (r=0.40, P=0.03) and years of life lost (r=0.42, P=0.02) were weakly associated with funding, whereas the number of disability-adjusted life-years was strongly predictive of funding (r=0.62, P<0.001). When the latter three measures were used to predict expected funding, the conclusions about the appropriateness of funding for some diseases varied according to the measure used. However, the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, breast cancer, diabetes mellitus, and dementia all received relatively generous funding, regardless of which measure was used as the basis for calculating support. Research on chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, perinatal conditions, and peptic ulcer was relatively underfunded. CONCLUSIONS: The amount of NIH funding for research on a disease is associated with the burden of the disease; however, different measures of the burden of disease may yield different conclusions about the appropriateness of disease-specific funding levels. (+info)
Human embryonic stem cells and respect for life.
The purpose of this essay is to stimulate academic discussion about the ethical justification of using human primordial stem cells for tissue transplantation, cell replacement, and gene therapy. There are intriguing alternatives to using embryos obtained from elective abortions and in vitro fertilisation to reconstitute damaged or dysfunctional human organs. These include the expansion and transplantation of latent adult progenitor cells. (+info)
A seat at the table: membership in federal advisory committees evaluating public policy in genetics.
OBJECTIVES: This study examined who participates in federal government advisory committees regarding public policy in human and medical genetics, what parties they represent, and to what extent the general public is meaningfully represented. METHODS: Analysis focused on 7 federal government documents published from January 1990 to February 1995. Advisors were categorized into 4 groups based on the professional affiliations that were listed in the publications. After a search of several references and data-bases, the study examined whether these individuals also had other affiliations not listed in the government publications. RESULTS: Individuals whose principal affiliations were with academia (n = 32; 44%) or industry (n = 19; 26%) represented nearly three fourths of the sample, followed by government employees (n = 13; 18%) and consumer advocates (n = 8; 11%). At least 16% of the advisors serving on the federal committees, mostly members of academia, had a dual affiliation. CONCLUSIONS: These data indicate that the public has modest representation on key federal advisory committees making policy recommendations regarding human genetics technology and clinical practice and that there is ample room for additional public participation. (+info)
Individual autonomy and state involvement in health care.
This article examines the ethical basis for government involvement in health care. It first provides the case for individual autonomy, focusing on the justifications--particularly ethical ones--for allowing individuals to make their own choices in health care, and to control more of their own resources in doing so. Next, it provides the opposite case--for abridging individual autonomy, and in particular, for redistributing resources from those who are well off to those who are not. The overriding reason for favouring the latter case, which trumps the notion of individual autonomy, is to ensure that individuals who are at a disadvantage have an equal probability of attaining good health. (+info)
Increasing worker and community awareness of toxic hazards in the workplace.(8/347)