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December 2001 (Volume 79)
Lawrence O. Gostin
Gail H. Javitt
Milbank Memorial Fund
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Government efforts to protect public health often include controlling health information. The government may proscribe messages conveyed by commercial entities (e.g., false or misleading), recommend messages from commercial entities (e.g., warnings and safety instructions), and convey health messages (e.g, health Communication campaigns), Through well-developed, albeit evolving, case law, government control of private speech has been constrained to avoid impinging on such values as free expression, truthfulness, and autonomous decision making. No simple legal framework has been developed for the government’s own health messages to mediate between the legitimate goals of health protection and these other values. Nevertheless, government recommendations on matters of health raise difficult social and ethical questions and involve important societal trade-offs. Accordingly, this article proposes legal and ethical principles relating to government control of the health information environment.
Author(s): Lawrence O. Gostin; Gail H. Javitt
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Volume 79, Issue 4 (pages 547–578) DOI: 10.1111/1468-0009.00221 Published in 2001
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The Milbank Quarterly’s multidisciplinary approach and commitment to applying the best empirical research to practical policymaking offers in-depth assessments of the social, economic, historical, legal, and ethical dimensions of health and health care policy.