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Law and MedicineCurrent Legal Issues Volume 3$
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Michael Freeman and Andrew Lewis

Print publication date: 2000

Print ISBN-13: 9780198299189

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198299189.001.0001

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Viagra is Coming! the Rhetoric of Choice and Need

Viagra is Coming! the Rhetoric of Choice and Need

(p.341) Viagra is Coming! the Rhetoric of Choice and Need
Law and Medicine

Hazel Biggs

Robin Mackenzie

Oxford University Press

The rhetoric of choice and need is well established where the allocation of scarce resources is in question. In England, where the National Health Service (NHS) system purports to offer free health care for all on the basis of individual need, we look to the law to adjudicate on these issues, effectively, to police the boundary between choice and need. In this context it is arguable, however, that the law itself can be informed by rhetoric and be instrumental in the generation of rhetoric. This chapter explores the discursive construction of choice and need by examining the rhetoric which represents them as competing bipolar opposites and simultaneously informs consumers, providers, and the law. It does so by reviewing the law’s engagement with the rationing debate before embarking upon a multi-layered analysis of the rhetorical strategies of the interest groups concerned, drawing upon the competing representations of Viagra in relation to health care resources and the notion of recognised clinical need.

Keywords:   Viagra, National Health Service, health care resources, clinical need, choice and need

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