Precision Medicine: Legal and Ethical Challenges

18 Pages Posted: 16 Nov 2017 Last revised: 6 Dec 2017

See all articles by John Liddicoat

John Liddicoat

University of Cambridge - Faculty of Law; University of Tasmania

Jeffrey M. Skopek

University of Cambridge - Faculty of Law

Kathleen Liddell

University of Cambridge - Faculty of Law

Date Written: December 2017

Abstract

On 7 and 8 April 2016, the Centre for Medical Ethics & Law (University of Hong Kong) together with the Centre for Law, Medicine and Life Sciences (University of Cambridge) hosted a conference at the University of Hong Kong on the legal and ethical challenges facing the realisation of precision medicine.

The aim of precision medicine is to revolutionise disease treatment and prevention by utilising personal variation in factors such as an individual’s genetic information, biochemistry, environment and lifestyle. Genomic data, for example, can be used to determine predispositions to particular diseases, predict the efficacy and safety of different treatment options, and help develop drugs that are targeted to the causes of diseases rather than their clinical manifestations. In these and other ways, scientific and technological advances have the potential to bring about an unprecedented tailoring of health care to the individual characteristics of patients.

In order to realise the potential of precision medicine, however, we must rethink components of the legal and ethical foundation on which it will be built. The reason for this is that our current legal and ethical frameworks were built with a very different generation of medical products and practices in mind. At this conference, world experts convened to identify and explore the challenges that precision medicine brings to the fore.

Part I of this report provides a summary of the presentations that were given at the conference. Section A of this part focuses on challenges in the implementation of precision medicine and is divided into two categories: implementation at the level of health care systems, and implementation at the level of clinical treatment. Section B addresses challenges in the development of precision medicine and is likewise divided into two categories: development at the level of foundational research, and development at the level of translational medicine.

Part II categorises and summarises the key challenges that were explored in the roundtable discussions that followed the four categories of presentations, as well as some of the broader questions that emerged out of the conference.

Keywords: Precision Medicine, Law, Patent Law, Regulation, Genomics, Biobanks, Tort Law, Liability, Health Systems, Ethics, Challenges, Implantation, Clinical Treatment, Foundation Research, Translational Medicine, Conference Report

Suggested Citation

Liddicoat, Johnathon and Skopek, Jeffrey M. and Liddell, Kathleen, Precision Medicine: Legal and Ethical Challenges (December 2017). University of Cambridge Faculty of Law Research Paper No. 64/2017, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3070388 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3070388

Johnathon Liddicoat (Contact Author)

University of Cambridge - Faculty of Law ( email )

10 West Road
Cambridge, CB3 9DZ
United Kingdom

University of Tasmania ( email )

French Street
Sandy Bay
Hobart, Tasmania 7001
Australia

Jeffrey M. Skopek

University of Cambridge - Faculty of Law ( email )

10 West Road
Cambridge, CB3 9DZ
United Kingdom

Kathleen Liddell

University of Cambridge - Faculty of Law ( email )

10 West Road
Cambridge, CB3 9DZ
United Kingdom

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