Altruism and Self Interest in Medical Decision Making

Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics 37 (3):401-409 (2009)
Abstract
We seem to prefer that medicine and medical care be provided through altruistic motives. Even the pharmaceutical industry justifies its behavior in terms of altruistic purposes. But economists have known since Adam Smith that self-interested behavior can create large and growing social benefits. This is true for medical care as well as for other goods. First, I consider specifically the case of pharmaceutical promotion, both to physicians and to consumers. I argue that such promotion is highly beneficial to patients and leads to health improvements. I consider some criticisms of promotion, and show that they are misguided. I then provide some evolutionary explanations for our erroneous beliefs about medical care
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DOI 10.1111/j.1748-720X.2009.00401.x
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References found in this work BETA
Principles of Biomedical Ethics.Tom L. Beauchamp - 1979 - Oxford University Press.
The Blank Slate. The Modern Denial of Human Nature.Steven Pinker - 2004 - Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 66 (4):765-767.
Letter to the Editor.I. N. Dubin - 1975 - Perspectives in Biology and Medicine 18 (3):430-431.
The Evolution of Reciprocal Altruism.Robert Trivers - 1971 - Quarterly Review of Biology 46 (1):35-57.

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Non-Patient Decision-Making in Medicine: The Eclipse of Altruism.Margaret P. Battin - 1985 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 10 (1):19-44.
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The Ethics of Altruism.Jonathan Seglow (ed.) - 2004 - F. Cass Publishers.
Altruism Versus Self-Interest: Sometimes a False Dichotomy.Neera Badhwar - 1993 - Social Philosophy and Policy 10 (1):90-117.

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