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Defining Variables of Access to UK Biobank: The Public Interest and the Public Good

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Abstract:

In this paper, I consider the concepts of the public interest and the public good as principles of ethical assess to UK Biobank. It is sometimes argued that the concepts are synonymous, and that they relate to collective interests that are in tension with an individual's interests. In this paper, I provide an innovative analysis, rooted in the existing policies of UK Biobank, to show that they are separate, but related concepts – the public interest is a procedural test that tries out the reasonableness of actions, and thereby legitimises acts which provide for or support those public goods that are the objects of rights. I illustrate my analysis in respect to four variables, in which access is justified in terms of being compatible with either the public good or the public interest, both or neither.

Keywords: BIOBANKS; HUMAN RIGHTS; RULE OF LAW; THE PUBLIC GOOD; THE PUBLIC INTEREST

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5235/17579961.5.1.113

Publication date: July 1, 2013

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