Can Law Improve Prevention and Treatment of Cancer?
The University of Sydney Law School
Lawrence O. Gostin
Georgetown University - Law Center - O'Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law
David M. Studdert
University of Melbourne - Faculty of Law & Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences
November 4, 2011
Public Health, Forthcoming
Sydney Law School Research Paper No. 11/88
Georgetown Law and Economics Research Paper No. 11-29
Georgetown Public Law Research Paper No. 11-137
The December 2011 issue of Public Health (the Journal of the Royal Society for Public Health) contains a symposium entitled: Legislate, Regulate, Litigate? Legal approaches to the prevention and treatment of cancer. This symposium explores the possibilities for using law and regulation – both internationally and at the national level – as the policy instrument for preventing and improving the treatment of cancer and other leading non-communicable diseases (NCDs). In this editorial, we argue that there is an urgent need for more legal scholarship on cancer and other leading NCDs, as well as greater dialogue between lawyers, public health practitioners and policy-makers about priorities for law reform, and feasible legal strategies for reducing the prevalence of leading risk factors. The editorial discusses two important challenges that frequently stand in the way of a more effective use of law in this area. The first is the tendency to dismiss risk factors for NCDs as purely a matter of individual 'personal responsibility'; the second is the fact that effective regulatory responses to risks for cancer and NCDs will in many cases provoke conflict with the tobacco, alcohol and food industries. After briefly identifying some of the strategies that law can deploy in the prevention of NCDs, we briefly introduce each of the ten papers that make up the symposium.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 18
Keywords: cancer, law, regulation, non-communicable diseases, prevention
JEL Classification: I10, I18, K10, K30, K32
Date posted: November 4, 2011 ; Last revised: December 1, 2011