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Ethics versus economics in public health? On the integration of economic rationality in a discourse of public health ethics



Ethics versus economics in public health? On the integration of economic rationality in a discourse of public health ethics



Bundesgesundheitsblatt, Gesundheitsforschung, Gesundheitsschutz 52(5): 494-501



In the course of establishing the discourse of public health ethics in Germany, we discuss whether economic efficiency should be part of public health ethics and, if necessary, how efficiency should be conceptualized. Based on the welfare economics theory, we build a theoretical framework that demands an integration of economic rationality in public health ethics. Furthermore, we consider the possible implementation of welfare efficiency against the background of current practice in an economic evaluation of health care in Germany. The indifference of the welfare efficiency criterion with respect to distribution leads to the conclusion that efficiency must not be the only criteria of public health ethics. Therefore, an ethical approach of principles should be chosen for public health ethics. Possible conflicts between principles of such an approach are outlined.

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Accession: 053048017

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 19330273

DOI: 10.1007/s00103-009-0836-2


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