Public Health and Public Wealth: Social Costs as a Basis for Restrictive Policies

Historically the most important rationale for coercive public health measures has been the prevention of disease and harm to others. As noncommunicable diseases, induced by personal habits, account for higher rates of death and disability, governmental restrictions on individuals are being based on a new argument-social costs. Indirect monetary effects are substituted for direct health effects. But since we lack precise measurements of net costs, the risks of coercion should be approached cautiously.

Author(s): David T. Courtwright

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Volume 58, Issue 2 (pages 268–282)
Published in 1980