HealthLawProf Blog

Editor: Katharine Van Tassel
Case Western Reserve University School of Law

Friday, April 16, 2021

Balancing Interests in Healthcare: What Happens When Commercial Interests Outweigh Patient Welfare and a Brief Overview of the Swinging Pendulum of Informed Consent in Singapore

Bernadette Richards (University of Adelaide), Balancing Interests in Healthcare: What Happens When Commercial Interests Outweigh Patient Welfare and a Brief Overview of the Swinging Pendulum of Informed Consent in Singapore, U. of Adelaide L. Research Paper No. 2020-11

Innovation is one of the constants of healthcare: there is an ongoing process of improvement, adaptation, and change with a goal of improving patient care and health outcomes. This is a simple statement that in an ideal world is true, however the reality is that patient welfare is not the only driver of medical innovation. Development cannot proceed without financial backing, and it is unsurprising that there are significant commercial interests involved in medical innovation. This is a practical reality that is neither inappropriate nor unexpected, but care must be taken to ensure that the commercial imperative does not override patient benefit. Unfortunately, this is not always the case and the recent representative action of Gill v Ethicon Sàrl (No 5) [2019] FCA 1905 (Gill v Ethicon) provides a cautionary tale of the widespread harm that can occur when patient welfare is placed below commercial imperatives.

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