The Allocation of Health Care Resources: An Ethical Evaluation of the 'QALY' Approach, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

The Allocation of Health Care Resources

An Ethical Evaluation of the 'QALY' Approach, 1st Edition

By John McKie, Peter Singer, Jeff Richardson


168 pages

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Hardback: 9781855219533
pub: 1998-05-01
eBook (VitalSource) : 9781315241449
pub: 2016-12-05
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The competition for limited health care resources is intensifying. We urgently need an acceptable method for deciding how they should be allocated. But the goods that health care produces are of very different kinds. Health care can extend the lives of children and of older people. It can make it possible for a person to walk, when without health care that person would be permanently bedridden; and it can reduce the pain and distress of people who are terminally ill. How can we possibly decide which of these - and many more - diverse achievements of health care are more deserving than others? We need a common unit by which we might be able to measure these very different goods. The Quality-Adjusted Life Year, or QALY, is the most developed proposal for such a unit of measure. In this book a distinguished team of ethicists and economists defend the core of the QALY proposal: that health care resources should be used so as to produce more years of life, of the highest possible quality. This leads to a discussion of such fundamental questions as whether all lives are of equal value, whether health care should be allocated on the basis of need and whether the QALY approach incorporates an adequate account of fairness or justice. The result is the most thorough account yet of the ethical issues raised by the use of the QALY as a basis for allocating health care resources.


’…timely contribution to what is certain to continue to be a vigorous debate about the ethical future of cost-utility analysis.’ Bioethics ’…generating a much more readable and consistent text…thoughtful and thought-provoking…’ Health Economics ’Whatever readers opinions on the QALY, this book offers a useful introduction to the subject as a whole, and to the ethical basis of QALYs in particular.’ Bulletin of Medical Ethics

Table of Contents

Contents: Introduction; The background to the QALY; Age discrimination; Quality of life; Double jeopardy; Public opinion; Conclusion; Bibliography; Index.

About the Series

Medico-Legal Series

Medico-Legal Series
This series is designed to present the most up-to-date developments in the international medico-legal field to lawyers, doctors, policy-makers and others interested in this rapidly expanding, but immensely complex, area. With contributions from authors from a number of different jurisdictions and backgrounds the books deal with a range of vitally important issues relating for example to human reproduction, the treatment of mentally ill and the mentally handicapped, abortion and the relationship between doctors and patients.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Insurance / Health