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Medicine and Society

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The primary purpose of medicine is defined in the American Heritage Dictionary as “the scientific study of diagnosing, treating, or preventing disease”. This involves the work of patient-facing healthcare workers (doctors, nurses, hospital employees, pharmacists, etc.), but also those working in academia or ...

The primary purpose of medicine is defined in the American Heritage Dictionary as “the scientific study of diagnosing, treating, or preventing disease”. This involves the work of patient-facing healthcare workers (doctors, nurses, hospital employees, pharmacists, etc.), but also those working in academia or industry to research, develop, and produce medicines and devices; this may be done for profit or not.

The global epidemiology of diseases, however, depends on political, economic, and cultural factors. Global events such as wars, colonialism, and migrations may quickly change priorities and pose challenges to various levels of health technology development, assessment, implementation, and access. New therapies may raise ethical issues, such as in the cases of embryonic stem cell research and genetic therapy, just to mention two. Using electronic patient records as information for research has important implications associated with personal data and digital ethics. Research, production, and marketing of new drugs raise problems of setting drug prices and their subsequent affordability to patients and public health insurance organizations, which may raise additional ethical issues. The importance of news and information in modern society, in print, broadcast, and online, raises questions of how the public is informed about health issues, along with the associated problems of disease mongering to promote excessive medicalization, spin, fake news, hype, and conflict of interest. It further raises the question of how health actors, whether they’re professionals, students, and/or patients, can be educated to provide them with the knowledge and tools needed to participate in decision-making processes.

This Research Topic on “Medicine and Society” welcomes contributions of research articles and reviews about all the ethical, legal, and societal implications of medicine and biomedical research.


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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