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MPM9 Ethics, Policy, Legislation and Health Economics

Precision medicine raises a multitude of ethical, policy, legislative and economic and value-judgement issues that have to be confronted. This module will expose students to these problems and the interface between ethics and health economics. The goal is to promote awareness of and prepare students to critically evaluate some of the challenges facing modern medicine from a societal perspective.


Module Overview

In Module 9, we will turn our attention to some of the ethical problems surrounding the practice of precision medicine, as well as the health economics and the challenges that are presented with the personalization of medicine. While both topics are intrinsically linked and will draw on themes from each other, they will be treated separately by ethics experts from the University of Vienna and health economic experts from the Medical University of Vienna.

Part A. Ethics, Policy and Legislation.

We will become familiar with the central ethical, social and regulatory problems, challenges and principles of precision medicine in the form of short lectures and the discussion of key texts. We will extend our knowledge with in-depth discussion of case studies in precision medicine. We will discuss the new role of patients and health advocacy groups in biomedicine and society, as well as the ethical and legal principles of animal experiments. By the end, we should be able to recognize ethical, social and regulatory challenges, to reflect on the ethical, social and legal dimensions of our work, and to discuss them across disciplinary boundaries. In particular, central ethical and regulatory principles and issues, including consent procedures, privacy and data protection will be discussed. We will recognize and discuss the challenges that arise from the constantly changing role of biomedicine in knowledge-intensive and technological societies.

Part B. Health Economics.

We will develop an understanding of the basic concepts, methods and relevance of health economics and healthcare systems to molecular precision medicine. We will examine different healthcare system types and assess their respective performance. We will become familiar with the identification, evaluation and analysis of generic health outcomes, including survival and patient-reported outcome measures (PROMs), such as quality of life, that arise from precision medicine healthcare strategies. In parallel, we will learn how to measure and evaluate the direct and indirect costs of precision medicine strategies within and beyond the health care sector. By the end, we will be able to jointly evaluate the outcomes and costs and establish the value of precision medicine care in comparison to conventional standards of care within a health economic evaluation framework based on patient-level data and decision analytic modelling. Students will participate in seminars for the application of the learned health economic concepts and methods based on data-driven precision medicine case studies. Within this framework we will also discuss and critically appraise published precision medicine health economic evidence linked to signature diseases.


Module coordinators

Ingrid Metzler

Ingrid Metzler is a senior research fellow at the University of Vienna’s Department of Science and Technology Studies. Her research focuses on the intersections between biomedicine and society.

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Judit Simon

Judit Simon is Professor and Head of the Department of Health Economics (DHE) and Deputy Head of the Center for Public Health at the Medical University of Vienna. She coordinates the doctoral study programme of Public Health and leads the Health Economics Programme Line at the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute of Applied Diagnostics. Judit has a multidisciplinary background in medicine, health economics and public health.

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