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Is the advancement of scientific knowledge and the development of biomedical technologies – known as the ‘New Medicine’ – desirable? George Smith asks this fundamental question while also confronting the distribution of these scarce medical resources. Law, economics, medical science, philosophy and ethics all coalesce in this discussion of how to structure normative standards of conduct that will improve the quality of human life.
The author begins by examining various economic constructs as aids for achieving a fair and equitable delivery of health care services. He then assesses their level of practical application and evaluates the costs and benefits to society of pursuing the development and use of the ‘New Medicine’. The book ends with a case study of organ and tissue transplantation that illustrates the implementation of distributive justice. The author concludes that as long as clinical medicine maintains its focus on healing and alleviating suffering among patients, a point of equilibrium will be reached that advances the common good.
This timely and compelling exploration will be a must-read for scholars, researchers, policymakers and all those interested in advances in medical technology and the issues surrounding access to health care.
‘George Smith is one of the world’s leading experts on the legal and ethical issues raised by modern medicine. His book is a wide-ranging and deeply informed and considered analysis of those issues, with particular emphasis on the inequality with which the benefits of modern medicine are bestowed on the sick. Knowledgeable as well about the technical aspects of the biomedical revolution, Smith writes with insight and authority, and offers a perspective that will influence the policy debates.’ – Richard A. Posner, United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit and University of Chicago Law School, US