Can Law Improve Prevention and Treatment of Cancer?

18 Pages Posted: 4 Nov 2011 Last revised: 1 Dec 2011

Roger Magnusson

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

Date Written: November 4, 2011

Abstract

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.

Keywords: cancer, law, regulation, non-communicable diseases, prevention

JEL Classification: I10, I18, K10, K30, K32

Suggested Citation

Magnusson, Roger and Gostin, Lawrence O. and Studdert, David M., Can Law Improve Prevention and Treatment of Cancer? (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. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1954470

Roger Magnusson (Contact Author)

The University of Sydney Law School ( email )

New Law Building, F10
The University of Sydney
Sydney, NSW 2006
Australia

Lawrence O. Gostin

Georgetown University - Law Center - O'Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law ( email )

600 New Jersey Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20001
United States
202-662-9038 (Phone)
202-662-9055 (Fax)

David M. Studdert

University of Melbourne - Faculty of Law & Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences ( email )

185 Pelham Street, Carlton, Victoria 3053
Melbourne, Victoria 3010
Australia

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