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“2020health is an important and thoughtful contributor to the health debate”

Dr Sarah Wollaston MP, Chairman, Health Select Committee

 
 

Press Release Cross governmental framework urgently needed for cyber-medicine

The explosive growth of new emerging medical technologies is both exciting and challenging according to 2020health’s new report. It urges ministers to ensure that there is a risk-analysis framework at the heart of government decision-making to enable a greater understanding of the opportunities and threats, and to inform rational decision making about the direction of progress. Covering issues such as ‘designer’ babies, ‘smart’ drugs, thought control, artificial life and nano-robots the report details technologies that are actually on society’s doorstep and the ‘value’ questions that they raise.

From left to right - Noel Sharkey, Julia Manning, Andrew Lansley responds to 2020health report.
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From left to right - Noel Sharkey, Julia Manning, Andrew Lansley responds to 2020health report.

The report, from 2020health.org, also warns that with the NHS budget under severe pressure, medical research should be concentrated on measures that will improve the health of the vast majority of people rather than addressing the whims of a wealthy few who dream of becoming superbeings.

"We need to decide how to balance our desire for the UK to continue to remain at the forefront of industry research and development with concerns about the possible impact on society as technologies enable some of us to perform or live beyond our natural abilities, especially if many or most cannot. Would everyone remain of equal value with the strong caring for the weak? Or would enhanced function and pursuit of perfection and strength exacerbate health inequalities and create a polarised society?"

The report: 'Health, humanity and justice: Emerging technologies and health policy in the 21st Century', has been drawn up with the help of international medical and scientific experts.“We conclude by urging the new Government to establish a formal process to evaluate the benefits and risks of these and other emerging technologies."