Personalised Medicine and Scarce Resources: A Discussion of Ethical Chances and Challenges from the Perspective of the Capability Approach

Caroline Brall*, Peter Schröder

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


In the aftermath of the economic crisis that started in 2008, resources have become scarcer than ever in some countries, also in health care. Priority setting and rationalisation of existing resources also affect pharmaceutical innovations, including those that would contribute to what is called personalised medicine. In this paper, we will highlight the ethical issues surrounding rationalisation and its impact on personalised medicine through the lens of the capability approach. Thereby, challenges to and opportunities for personalised medicine will be examined, assessing how they affect patients' 'real options' to access innovative therapies. In our focus on the 'first challenge: citizens and patients' of the so-called Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda, the strength of the capability approach becomes particularly apparent in identifying what different values are at stake in this context.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)178-186
JournalPublic Health Genomics
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Austerity
  • Capability approach
  • Ethics
  • Innovation
  • Personalised medicine
  • Rationalisation

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