Exploring the boundaries of autonomy and the 'right' to access innovative stem cell therapies

Asian Bioethics Review 9 (1-2):45-60 (2017)

Anantharaman Muralidharan
University of Warwick
Demands for improved access to innovative therapies have prompted a discourse that claims patients have rights to access treatments that may be of benefit, even if evidence that demonstrates safety and efficacy is lacking. This rights-based discourse is grounded in accounts of autonomy and assertions claiming that the state ought to not interfere with the free choices of patients and clinical decision-making. In this essay, we scrutinise these arguments to defend the ethical and legal permissibility of interference in contexts where the uncertainty of benefit and potential for harm creates vulnerabilities that undermine patient capacity for self-determination. In support of this argument, we draw on two theoretical approaches to explore the limits of autonomy in innovative contexts and analyse the legal bases of the rights-based discourse. We then apply this analysis to the case example of stem cell transplantation as an innovative treatment for multiple sclerosis.
Keywords Autonomy   Stem cell therapies   Multiple sclerosis
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DOI 10.1007/s41649-017-0001-4
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References found in this work BETA

Republicanism: A Theory of Freedom and Government.Philip Pettit - 1997 - Philosophical Quarterly 49 (196):415-419.
Innovative Surgery and the Precautionary Principle.Denise Meyerson - 2013 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 38 (6):jht047.
Autonomy and Vulnerability Entwined.Joel Anderson - 2013 - In Catriona Mackenzie, Wendy Rogers & Susan Dodds (eds.), Vulnerability: New Essays in Ethics and Feminist Philosophy. Oup Usa. pp. 134.

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