Summary

Recent developments in medicine, for instance the development of new expensive treatments, have made questions concerning prioritizations in health care more acute than ever. The purpose of this project is to interpret and critically evaluate the principles of cost-efficiency, need, and responsibility as grounds for prioritizing in health care. This includes investigating which interpretations of each respective principle are most reasonable and how they should be weighted in relation to each other. The guiding ambition of the project is to make the analysis useful for actual prioritizations in health care.

 

The central research questions of the project are thus as follows:

 

  • How should the principle of cost-efficiency be interpreted in order to be an applicable and defensible principle of prioritization in health care?
  • How should the principle of need be interpreted in order to be an applicable and defensible principle of prioritization in health care?
  • How should the principle of responsibility be interpreted in order to be an applicable and defensible principle of prioritization in health care?
  • If more than one principle should be considered, how should they be weighted in comparison to each other?

This is a philosophical project. We aim to evaluate the reasonableness of the principles by comparing different interpretations of them and apply the most promising interpretations cases in order to determine which priorities they imply in these cases. The idea is that the implications of a principle say something about its plausibility. For practical reasons we will focus on three difficult cases: (1) new very expensive treatments, (2) so called medical enhancement and, (3) liver transplantations.

 

This project is run by Stockholm Centre for Healthcare Ethics (CHE), a collaboration between Karolinska Institutet, The Royal Institute of Technology and The University of Stockholm.