Patent laws and legislation -- United States -- History.
Biotechnology -- United States -- History.
Continuing the discussion begun in the March 2006 issue of the Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal, this paper further documents the failure of the United States to adequately consider possible modifications in the traditional robust system of intellectual property rights as applied to biotechnology. It discusses concrete suggestions for alternative disclosure requirements, for exemptions for research tools, and for improved access to clinical advances. In each of these cases, the modifications might be more responsive to the full set of relevant values.
Academic-industrial collaboration -- Moral and ethical aspects.
Commercial academic-industry relationships (AIRs) are widespread in biotechnology and have resulted in a wide array of restrictions on academic research. Objections to such restrictions have centered on the charge that they violate academic freedom. I argue that these objections are almost invariably unsuccessful. On a consequentialist understanding of the value of academic freedom, they rely on unfounded empirical claims about the overall effects that AIRs have on academic research. And on a rights-based understanding of the value of academic freedom, they rely on excessively lavish assumptions about the kinds of activities that academic freedom protects.
Transplantation of organs, tissues, etc. -- Moral and ethical aspects.
The past decade has witnessed the emergence of novel methods to increase the number of living donors. Although such programs are not likely to yield high volumes of organs, some transplant centers have gone to great lengths to establish one or more of them. I discuss some of the ethical and policy issues raised by five such programs: (1) living-paired and cascade exchanges; (2) unbalanced living-paired exchanges; (3) list-paired exchanges; (4) nondirected donors; and (5) nondirected donors catalyzing cascade exchanges. I argue that living-paired and cascade exchanges are ethically sound, but will lead to only a few additional transplants. Unbalanced exchanges and list-paired exchanges raise ethical issues that should limit their permissibility. Nondirected donations can be ethically sound with adherence to strict eligibility criteria and fair allocation procedures. Nondirected donors catalyzing cascade exchanges can be ethically sound provided that individuals with blood types O and B are not made worse off.
National bioethics commissions have been critiqued for a variety of structural, procedural, and political aspects of their work. A more recent critique published by Dzur and Levin uses political philosophy to constructively critique the work of national bioethics commissions as public deliberative forums. However, this public forum critique of bioethics commissions ignores empirical research in political science and normative claims that suggest that advisory commissions can and should have diverse of functions beyond that of being public forums. The present paper argues that the public forum critique too narrowly considers the roles that bioethics commissions can play in public bioethics and ignores the moral obligation of commissions to fulfill their mandates. Evaluations of commissions must consider that these institutions can serve in capacities other than those of a public deliberative forum and use additional measures to evaluate the multiple roles and successes of bioethics commissions in public policy.
Gert, Bernard, 1934- Making the morally relevant features explicit: a response to Carson Strong.
Continuing the dialogue begun in the March 2006 issue of the Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal, I suggest that Bernard Gert's response to my paper does not adequately address the criticisms I make of his theory's application to bioethics cases.
Strong, Carson. Continuing the dialogue: a reply to Bernard Gert.
Carson Strong's reply to my response to his article demonstrates what happens when there is unacknowledged disagreement about the facts of a case or about the meaning of the terms used to describe those facts. I hope that our dialogue will help reduce this disagreement.