Globalization Impacts Health, Medicine and Bioethics, says Duquesne Professor

Health and medicine are huge concerns in a global marketplace.

And mainstream bioethics need to catch up, says Dr. Henk ten Have, director of the Duquesne University Center for Healthcare Ethics.

In his new Routledge book, Global Bioethics: An Introduction, ten Have sets the scene for establishing global bioethics because of the social, economic and environmental effects of globalization. With his background as a researcher, practicing physician and philosopher, as well as director of UNESCO's Division of Ethics of Science and Technology, ten Have raises awareness of the increasing importance of bioethics in the global landscape.

Fast surgeries, organ trafficking, commercial surrogate mothers and migrating health care providers are involved. Thousands of patients with malaria, tuberculosis and AIDS die daily because they cannot afford effective medications.

Nearly 50 years ago, the U.S. Surgeon General declared it was time to close the book on infectious diseases because of vaccinations and medications such as antibiotics. Attention turned to chronic illness, organ transplantations and intensive care.

"These medical interventions raise many ethical questions about benefit and harm," ten Have says. "Are they really for the good of the patients or do we do better to decide not to intervene?"

Infectious diseases such as Ebola and Zika remain on top of the public agenda.

In so many instances, ten Have says. "The main question is what can we do and what should we do? This is not a technical question but an ethical one."

While global responses are being developed, ten Have points out, "There is no magic solution. What should concern us is not only the disease itself but the people who are ill.

"Health is negatively related to poverty and ecological degradation. Social, economic and political conditions make people vulnerable. Most of all, an ethical framework is needed that values common interests more than private or national ones."

Duquesne University

Founded in 1878, Duquesne is consistently ranked among the nation's top Catholic universities for its award-winning faculty and tradition of academic excellence. Duquesne, a campus of nearly 9,500 graduate and undergraduate students, has been nationally recognized for its academic programs, community service and commitment to sustainability. Follow Duquesne University on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.