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Bioethics Backlash: Implications of the Retreat from Autonomy for the Communication of Scientific Health Information

8 Pages Posted: 24 May 2010 Last revised: 20 Feb 2014

Thaddeus Mason Pope

Mitchell Hamline School of Law; Queensland University of Technology - Australian Health Law Research Center; Saint Georges University; Alden March Bioethics Institute

Date Written: May 24, 2010

Abstract

The doctrine of informed consent requires that the medical community communicate scientific health information to the consumer. Knowledge and understanding enable the consumer to make her own health-care decisions. And, in modern Western society, that is a highly desirable end. However, healthcare professionals cannot always inform or educate the consumer. They cannot always enable the consumer to make her own healthcare decisions. They cannot, because, sometimes, policymakers decide that the better course of action is to take control away both from consumers and from healthcare professionals and to instead vest it with government appointed scientific experts.

In this paper, I address this question: Under what circumstances should policymakers usurp consumer autonomy instead of fostering it? First, I will discuss the scope and nature of a recent and growing shift in attitude toward autonomy. Then, I will use therapeutic drug law policy (i.e. the regulation of pharmaceuticals) as a vehicle for exploring the implications of this shift in attitude toward autonomy on the communication of scientific health information.

Keywords: informed consent, autonomy, health information, health law, bioethics, medical information

JEL Classification: K32, I18

Suggested Citation

Pope, Thaddeus Mason, Bioethics Backlash: Implications of the Retreat from Autonomy for the Communication of Scientific Health Information (May 24, 2010). Widener Law School Legal Studies Research Paper No. 10-41. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1615105 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1615105

Thaddeus Mason Pope (Contact Author)

Mitchell Hamline School of Law ( email )

875 Summit Avenue
Room 320
Saint Paul, MN 55105
United States
651-695-7661 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.thaddeuspope.com

Queensland University of Technology - Australian Health Law Research Center ( email )

2 George Street
Brisbane, Queensland 4000
Australia

Saint Georges University ( email )

West Indies
Grenada

HOME PAGE: http://www.thaddeuspope.com

Alden March Bioethics Institute ( email )

47 New Scotland Ave
MC 153
Albany, NY 12208
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.thaddeuspope.com

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