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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: 09 May 2021

Paternalism and Public Health

Paternalism and Public Health

(p.32) 2 Paternalism and Public Health
Pharmaceutical Freedom

Jessica Flanigan

Oxford University Press

Since medical paternalism is wrong in the clinical context, it should be rejected in public policy as well. But even if paternalistic public health policies were permissible, it is not clear that prohibitive pharmaceutical regulations are necessary to promote public health. Prohibitions could undermine health in some cases, for example, if prescription requirements make patients more deferential to physicians and tolerant of medical risks. Premarket testing requirements cause people to suffer and die waiting for new drugs to get approved, and they discourage new drug development. This is not to say that regulation serves no purpose. Pharmaceutical regulators provide a valuable pubic good by overseeing testing for new drugs and by certifying drugs that they deem generally safe and effective. But the benefits of regulation do not require that the regulations be prohibitive, and prohibitive regulations not only violate patients’ rights, they may also cost lives.

Keywords:   pharmaceutical regulation, drug lag, drug loss, off-label prescribing, pediatrics

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