Friday, April 27, 2007

Pills to avoid Diabetes Unjust?

Researchers in the BMJ are arguing that pills used to avoid type two diabetes are unjust

The key part of the argument seems to be that much of type two diabetes could be avoided via lifestyle changes and so paying for these pills involves an unacceptable burden on the tax payer. Given my luck egalitarian biases I am swayed to some degree by this argument, although it is not clear to me that people would opt not to fund treatments like this as part of a basic package on two grounds. Firstly clearly people are choosing not to make lifestyle changes, which seems to indicate they may prefer to medicate than alter their lifestyle. Secondly as pointed out by the researchers it will over-all save money to give these pills since the long term costs of diabetes are significantly higher than the cost of these pills.

However this is only looking within the context of one nation, and if we look at things globally another story becomes clear. Globally it seems hard to justify one group living in particularly consumptive ways, so much so that they are harming themselves, and then consuming even more to mitigate against that harm while others are finding it hard to even be able to eat. On global justice grounds it does seem unjust.