Precision medicine and the problem of structural injustice

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

Many countries currently invest in technologies and data infrastructures to foster precision medicine (PM), which is hoped to better tailor disease treatment and prevention to individual patients. But who can expect to benefit from PM? The answer depends not only on scientific developments but also on the willingness to address the problem of structural injustice. One important step is to confront the problem of underrepresentation of certain populations in PM cohorts via improved research inclusivity. Yet, we argue that the perspective needs to be broadened because the (in)equitable effects of PM are also strongly contingent on wider structural factors and prioritization of healthcare strategies and resources. When (and before) implementing PM, it is crucial to attend to how the organisation of healthcare systems influences who will benefit, as well as whether PM may present challenges for a solidaristic sharing of costs and risks. We discuss these issues through a comparative lens of healthcare models and PM-initiatives in the United States, Austria, and Denmark. The analysis draws attention to how PM hinges on—and simultaneously affects—access to healthcare services, public trust in data handling, and prioritization of healthcare resources. Finally, we provide suggestions for how to mitigate foreseeable negative effects.
Original languageEnglish
JournalMedicine, Health Care and Philosophy
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2023

ID: 347469574