The SAGE Handbook of Healthcare Ethics is an influential collection of work by leading scholars on the fundamental and emerging themes which define healthcare ethics. This authoritative Handbook brings together experts with backgrounds in philosophy, sociology, law, public policy and the health professions and reflects the increasing impact of globalization and the dynamic advances in the fields of bioscience and genetics, which keep ethics at the centre of debates about the future direction of healthcare. Combining international and interdisciplinary perspectives, the Handbook provides a cutting-edge account of debates in five key areas: Health Care Ethics in an Era of Globalization; Beginning and End of Life; Vulnerable Populations; Research Ethics and Technologies; Public Health and Human Rights

Pharmaceuticals1

Pharmaceuticals1

Introduction

The past 100 years have seen major improvements in length and quality of life. While in the year 1900 only one quarter of people were able to see their sixty-fifth birthday, now three-quarters of us can expect to reach this age in good health (Winnacker, 2000).2 This dramatic change has become possible, among other things, through progress in medicine and technology. Several former killer diseases, such as diphtheria, polio and smallpox have been virtually eliminated, at least in the so-called developed countries. It was only as recently as 1929 that Alexander Fleming discovered the antibacterial effect of penicillin; since that time, the use of antibiotics has saved millions of lives.

Complete sequencing of the human genome and other advances in biomedical science and bioinformatics are ...

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