HOW TO REGULATE MEDICAL TOURISM (AND WHY IT MATTERS FOR BIOETHICS)

Authors

  • I. GLENN COHEN

    Corresponding author
    1. Harvard Law School and Co-Director, Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology, and Bioethics, at Harvard Law School, USA
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  • Conflict of interest statement: No conflicts declared

I. Glenn Cohen, JD, Assistant Professor, Harvard Law School and Co-Director, Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology, and Bioethics, at Harvard Law School, Griswold Hall 503, 1525 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA. Email: igcohen@law.harvard.edu.

ABSTRACT

A growing literature examines descriptive and normative questions about medical tourism such as: How does it operate? What are its effects? Are home country patients or their governments failing in moral duties by engaging in or permitting medical tourism?

By contrast, much less has been written on the regulatory dimension: What might be done about medical tourism if we were convinced that it posed ethical issues and were motivated to act? I shall argue that this kind of regulatory analysis is essential for bioethical analysis of medical tourism.

This article focuses on these regulatory questions more directly, evaluating available methods, restrictions, costs, and benefits of home and destination country unilateral regulatory moves. This article also discusses more briefly multilateral treaty and private sector responses.

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