About the Issue
How Should We Model Rare Disease Allocation Decisions?
Version of Record online: 13 JAN 2012
© 2012 by The Hastings Center
Hastings Center Report
Volume 42, Issue 1, page 3, January-February 2012
How to Cite
JOHN LONDON, A. (2012), How Should We Model Rare Disease Allocation Decisions?. Hastings Center Report, 42: 3. doi: 10.1002/hast.3
- Issue online: 13 JAN 2012
- Version of Record online: 13 JAN 2012
When health budgets are insufficient to provide care for all, allocating resources to treat a person with a rare and expensive disorder entails that we cannot treat at least one person with a more common, less expensive disorder. Since any allocation scheme will entail such trade-offs, how should prudent policy-makers, concerned about justice and fairness, allocate their community's health resources? In their article in this issue of the Hastings Center Report, Emily Largent and Steven Pearson frame this problem as a conflict between the “rule of rescue” and utilitarian allocation schemes that try to maximize the benefits produced by a given budget. In his article, Norman Daniels discusses the related problem of the “identified victim bias.” I doubt that the problem of crafting an equitable health policy regarding orphan diseases maps onto either of these factors in a way that sheds light on the key moral issues.