Forum (Genova). 1998 Oct-Dec; 8(4): 383-94.
Evidence-based medicine between explicit rationing, medical deontology and rights of patients.
Health Law and Bioethics Unit, IRCCS Neuromed, Pozzilli, Italy.
Today a "just" health policy is balanced between the problem of the allocation of scarce resources and the priority setting of services, care and cures. Despite technologies and molecular medicine, with their tendency to reach absolute prediction of disease or absence of disease and to cure with predicted efficacy, a large portion of the public refuse the results of experimental procedures and prefer to place trust in so-called alternative medicine or in drugs which are not in the official guide-lines following the principles of evidence-based medicine according to DL Sackett. Juridical problems arise between the rights of free choice of cure and social dimension of Governmental care programs, which include the maximum of benefits (i.e. effective therapies) for a pre-fixed total budget. An explicit rationing only on budgetary bases without rationalisation of medical procedures reduces the rights to care of citizens-patients. Thus, an explicit rationing-rationalisation seems to be the only procedure compatible with the interest of patients in a social security system allocating "scarce" resources.