Consumer Medicine

image of Consumer Medicine

The contributions in this book all address an important area relating to the delivery of medical services, namely the development of consumer medicine. The changing dynamics of consumer medicine are explored through two perspectives: genetic self-testing and cross-border medical treatment. Both genetic self-testing and cross-border medical treatment offer a number of opportunities, both for producers and consumers of goods and services. At the same time, however, a number of important questions arise as to the limits and regulations that should be in place to protect consumers and patients, and assure that the products and services that are being offered are of good quality and do not offer false or misleading information as to their efficacy or significance in helping patients and consumers. The role of the state and supra-national organizations is by no means self-evident within this changing environment in that on the one hand, this process has been supported by these same authorities, and on the other hand, they are also trying to control and limit the extent to which it develops and undermines their sovereignty. This dual role has created tensions between the development of consumer medicine and the consequences that authorities must deal with as a result of this development.



Medical Tourism - A Contradiction in Terms

The focus of this paper is on "Medical Tourism" which refers to patients travelling abroad to seek treatment for various diseases. Under no circumstances does this have anything to do with tourism. These treatments are mainly surgical interventions, which idle patients across borders, as opposed to medical treatment. Absolutely no one is eager to leave his or her own home country in search of treatment unless it is absolutely necessary in order to survive a life threatening disease - or at least obtain life prolonging treatment. A more appropriate title would be "Traveling for Treatment" or "Cross-border Treatment", since these patients are doing so in despair and hope of proving the doctors in their home country wrong. Often they have received a "death sentence" and have been given up on by their doctors, who have said, there is no hope or means of treatment.


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