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“Just Caring”: Can We Afford the Ethical and Economic Costs of Circumventing Cancer Drug Resistance?
Center for Ethics and Humanities in the Life Sciences, 965 Fee Road, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824, USA
Received: 13 May 2013; in revised form: 7 July 2013 / Accepted: 9 July 2013 / Published: 16 July 2013
Abstract: Personalized medicine has been presented in public and professional contexts in excessively optimistic tones. In the area of cancer what has become clear is the extraordinary heterogeneity and resilience of tumors in the face of numerous targeted therapies. This is the problem of cancer drug resistance. I summarize this problem in the first part of this essay. I then place this problem in the context of the larger political economic problem of escalating health care costs in both the EU and the US. In turn, that needs to be placed within an ethical context: How should we fairly distribute access to needed health care for an enormous range of health care needs when we have only limited resources (money) to meet virtually unlimited health care needs (cancer and everything else)? This is the problem of health care rationing. It is inescapable as a moral problem and requires a just resolution. Ultimately that resolution must be forged through a process of rational democratic deliberation.
Keywords: personalized medicine; targeted therapies; oncology; cancer; health care justice; rational democratic deliberation; just caring problem; health care rationing
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Cite This Article
MDPI and ACS Style
Fleck, L.M. “Just Caring”: Can We Afford the Ethical and Economic Costs of Circumventing Cancer Drug Resistance? J. Pers. Med. 2013, 3, 124-143.
Fleck LM. “Just Caring”: Can We Afford the Ethical and Economic Costs of Circumventing Cancer Drug Resistance? Journal of Personalized Medicine. 2013; 3(3):124-143.
Fleck, Leonard M. 2013. "“Just Caring”: Can We Afford the Ethical and Economic Costs of Circumventing Cancer Drug Resistance?" J. Pers. Med. 3, no. 3: 124-143.