Scientific evidence and the law: an objective Bayesian formalisation of the precautionary principle in pharmaceutical regulation

Osimani, Barbara and Russo, Frederica and Williamson, Jon (2011) Scientific evidence and the law: an objective Bayesian formalisation of the precautionary principle in pharmaceutical regulation. Journal of Philosophy, Science and Law, 11 . ISSN 1549-8549. (Full text available)

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Abstract

The paper considers the legal tools that have been developed in German pharmaceutical regulation as a result of the precautionary attitude inaugurated by the Contergan decision (1970). These tools are (i) the notion of "well-founded suspicion", which attenuates the requirements for safety intervention by relaxing the requirement of a proved causal connection between danger and source, and the introduction of (ii) the reversal of proof burden in liability norms. The paper focuses on the first and proposes seeing the precautionary principle as an instance of the requirement that one should maximise expected utility. In order to maximise expected utility certain probabilities are required and it is argued that objective Bayesianism offers the most plausible means to determine the optimal decision in cases where evidence supports diverging choices.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA1001 Forensic Medicine. Medical jurisprudence. Legal medicine
Divisions: Faculties > Humanities > School of European Culture and Languages
Depositing User: Jon Williamson
Date Deposited: 20 Jan 2012 11:47
Last Modified: 05 Jun 2014 15:21
Resource URI: http://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/28620 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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