Sharon R. Kaufman is Chair of the Department of Anthropology, History and Social Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco. She is the author of
Ordinary Medicine in Our Aging Society: The Dilemma of Longevity
This chapter describes the chain of connections among science, industry, and insurance that defines the quandary of drawing the line between enough and too much treatment. It explains how treatments emerge, become available to patients, and then are deemed to be wanted and necessary. The chapter introduces the field of ethical choices that infuses the operation of this chain. Such ethical choices determine the goals of clinical research, which therapies are considered appropriate, and how doctors and patients respond.