Bioethics 25 (8):445-450 (2011)

Simon Derpmann
University of Münster
The emergence of H1N1 in 2009 shows that it is a mistake to regard the scenario of having to implement pandemic plans as merely hypothetical. This recent experience provides an opportunity to inquire into the current state of pandemic preparedness plans with regard to their ethical adequacy. One aspect that deserves consideration in this context is the disclosure of ethical reasoning. Accordingly, the following is an analysis of examples of pandemic plans and drafts of plans from Southeast Asia and the Western Pacific. It is an analysis of the occurrence of explicit ethical reflection in these documents as well an inquiry into the related question of how ethical reflection can be understood as a constitutive element of ethical pandemic preparedness.In the analysis, different fields of ethical consideration concerning equity, personal rights and accountability are distinguished. There are both pragmatic and genuinely ethical reasons to explicitly address issues of these types in pandemic plans. The extent to which ethical language appears in the national plans in South East Asia and the Western Pacific suggests that there is limited awareness of ethical considerations, or at least insufficient ethical substantiation of pandemic action. The aim of the analysis is to show that further inclusion of ethical considerations into pandemic plans is ethically demanded. It is of particular significance that these considerations are formulated and remain discernible as instances of ethical deliberation.
Keywords pandemic preparedness  equity  ethical reasoning  personal rights  accountability  influenza
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DOI 10.1111/j.1467-8519.2011.01922.x
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