Fair allocation of resources, rarity and the specialness of cancer
Speaker: Mark Sheehan (University of Oxford)
Date: 6 April 2018
Conference: What Is so Special About Cancer? Perspectives from Clinical Research, Philosophy and Social Sciences
In the first part of this paper I briefly sketch an argument for why treatments for rare diseases ought to be treated differently in decisions about resource allocation. This sketch is useful because it becomes a contrast case when we turn to the question of whether treatments for cancer are special and should be treated as such when prioritising. The broad conclusion of this part of the paper is that when it comes to resource allocation, cancer is not special.
In the second part of the paper, I attempt to turn this conclusion on its head by examining a range of apparently ordinary reasons for thinking that cancer is special and should be treated as such. The rationale for attempting this reversal is the clear specialness that is attributed to cancer in our society and its institutions.
• This event was sponsored by the Limits of the Numerical Research Project at CRASSH, University of Cambridge, with generous support from the Independent Social Research Foundation (ISRF).