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Perspectives in Bioethics: Precision Medicine a Threat to Health Equity

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Precision medicine promises to transform medicine by utilizing genetic and genomic information to offer personalized care to each patient based on the individual nature of their disease. This relatively new approach in medicine has the potential to greatly improve patient care, however advancing a precision medicine agenda raises significant ethical concerns, particularly in smaller, resource-strapped developing nations like those in the Caribbean basin. Drawing on examples from Trinidad and Tobago, this viewpoint highlights some of these concerns specifically resource allocation, privacy and confidentiality, scientific merit and sociopolitical influence as well as health equity within and between countries. We contend that while precision medicine has extrinsic value, unless a precision medicine agenda complements efforts to address existing systemic pitfalls in the public health system, it will substantially widen the health disparities gap.

07 Jun, 2016
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e-Published: 14 Jul, 2016


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