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From reason to practice in bioethicsAn anthology dedicated to the works of John Harris$
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John Coggon, Sarah Chan, Soren Holme, and Thomasine Kushner

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780719096235

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719096235.001.0001

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Harris’s principle of justice in health care

Harris’s principle of justice in health care

(p.142) 13 Harris’s principle of justice in health care
From reason to practice in bioethics

Ruth Macklin

Manchester University Press

This chapter discusses Harris’s principle of justice in health care. Harris contends that his view is an equal opportunity principle of justice representing “the patient’s conception of benefit,” and is superior to “the provider’s or funder’s conception of benefit.” He argues that the latter position is “essentially a ‘public health’ conception,” as it “sees the business of health care as maintaining and improving public health or the health of the community.” This is a rather narrow construal of a public health conception; a more nuanced view can incorporate considerations of justice in a scheme for allocating scarce medical resources. The chapter discusses several competing principles of justice in addressing a situation of compelling need for policy makers in developing countries: setting priorities for choosing among HIV-infected individuals who are potential recipients of antiretroviral drugs (ARVs) at a regional or national level in resource-poor countries ravaged by AIDS.

Keywords:   Principles of justice, Equal opportunity, Public health, Benefit, Resource allocation, HIV/AIDS, Resource-poor countries

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