The Limits to Consumerism in Health Care image

March 2, 2016 12:00 PM
Lectures and Panels
Wasserstein Hall, Room 1010
Harvard Law School, 1585 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA

VIDEO: Introduction, I. Glenn Cohen
VIDEO: Mary Anne Bobinski
VIDEO: Response, Louise P. King
VIDEO: Audience Q&A

Couldn't attend the event? Check out some of our speakers' slide presentations!


It is often said that health care has moved from paternalism, in the form of “doctor knows best,” to consumerism, in which patients expect to be able to obtain treatment consistent with their values and preferences. This presentation explored some of the limits to consumerism in health care, with a particular focus on circumstances where patient values or preferences conflict with provider values, professional ethics, or societal norms captured in legislation or court decisions. Considerable attention has been devoted to constraints on patient choice in areas such as abortion and end of life care. This presentation focused more broadly on the justifications and techniques for constraining patient choice in areas such as access to assisted reproductive technologies, risky therapies, pre-exposure prophylaxis for HIV, and extreme plastic surgery. Although the discussion focused on the U.S., selected examples from Australia, Canada, and the U.K. were also considered. 


Mary Anne Bobinski

Professor, Allard School of Law, University of British Columbia



Respondent: Louise P. King

Assistant Professor, Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Biology, Harvard Medical School; Director of Reproductive Ethics, Center for Bioethics, Harvard Medical School; Surgeon, Division of Minimally Invasive Gynecologic Surgery, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center 


This event was free and open to the public.

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Couldn't attend the event? Check out some of our speakers' slide presentations!

Sponsored by the Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology, and Bioethics at Harvard Law School and the Center for Bioethics at Harvard Medical School, with support from the Oswald DeN. Cammann Fund.


VIDEO: Introduction, I. Glenn Cohen
VIDEO: Mary Anne Bobinski
VIDEO: Response, Louise P. King
VIDEO: Audience Q&A


abortion   bioethics   doctor-patient relationship   health law policy   hivaids   judicial opinions   pharmaceuticals   reproductive rights   reproductive technologies