August 28, 2006

People's Medical Society: It's Just One Guy

The policy think tank on healthcare in Pennsylvania "People's Medical Society" is just one guy.

From a policy point of view the greatest force present in any bioethical debate are patient advocacy and consumer groups. It is pretty clear that the drive to shift Federal policy on the funding of embryonic stem cell research was fueled mainly by patient advocacy groups and those involved in lobbying for research funds and treatments for various diseases. It is common for academic bioethics to call for more contact with and even alliances to be formed with patient advocacy organizations and once in awhile, as at the recent conference in Albany, a group calls on academic bioethicists to do the same (Not Dead Yet).

As this article makes clear, not all patient advocacy and consumer groups are created equal! In navigating these waters it becomes very important to know exactly who you are dealing with, what their sources of funding are and most importantly who does the group represent!
- Art Caplan

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