Designer Babies, Robot Malpractice, and the Cures for Cancer: A Legal Survey of Some Medical Innovations
38 Pages Posted: 5 Nov 2018 Last revised: 12 Mar 2020
Date Written: 2018
Recent advances in computer science and genetic research have made certain medical phenomena more complex, yet more promising. A group of new innovations – CRISPR, immunotherapy, and artificial intelligence – has been touted as fundamentally changing the nature of medicine. The purpose of this article is two-fold – first it aims to introduce these breakthroughs to the legal community. Second, we hope to show how these breakthroughs fit into the existing legal framework. Medical innovations do not require innovative jurisprudence or novel regulatory schemes. If there are areas where there are difficulties fitting technology into existing legal and regulatory frameworks, this is a mark against the framework, not against the technology. A theme of the article is that areas of the law which derive from the casuistry of common law – case-by-case reasoning – such as medical malpractice, have legal standards that are robust and capable of dealing with a novelty such as a robot doctor. Areas of the law that have been created relatively recently in response to political vicissitudes, such as the Food and Drug Administration, have more difficulty dealing with a phenomenon like the personalized medicine of new immunotherapies. We hope to show where the law gets it right and where there are issues.
Keywords: Law and Medicine, Medical Innovation, CRISPR, Artificial Intelligence, Medical Ethics, FDA
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