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Pharmaceutical FreedomWhy Patients Have a Right to Self Medicate$
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Jessica Flanigan

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780190684549

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190684549.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 16 June 2021

A Defense of Self-Medication

A Defense of Self-Medication

(p.1) 1 A Defense of Self-Medication
Pharmaceutical Freedom

Jessica Flanigan

Oxford University Press

The same considerations that justify rights of informed consent also justify rights of self-medication because paternalism is wrong at the pharmacy and in the doctor’s office. Rights of self-medication require that patients have legal access to medicines without a prescription and without authorization from a regulatory agency. Like informed consent, the right of self-medication does not rely on a single, potentially controversial normative premise. From a consequentialist perspective, patients should be entrusted with making choices for themselves because they are generally most knowledgeable about which decision will further their interests. From a rights-based perspective, medical decisions are often intimate and personal choices that are especially significant to patients. Furthermore, even if a medical choice is not intimate, personal, or especially significant, people are more generally entitled to choose how they live their lives without being subjected to benevolent interference by physicians or public officials.

Keywords:   informed consent, medical ignorance, approval requirements, prescription requirements, paternalism, bodily rights, self-medicate

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