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Ethical and Legal Considerations in Mitigating Pandemic Disease: Workshop Summary
same time, with fairness and justice. Many of the proposed disease mitigation strategies may have unintended—and often undesirable—consequences, such as adverse economic effects or the restriction of civil rights and civil liberties. To focus attention on these concerns as well as on other profound ethical and legal issues that are inherent in various pandemic disease mitigation approaches being proposed domestically and internationally, the Forum convened a public workshop, Ethical and Legal Considerations in Mitigating Pandemic Disease on September 19–20, 2006. Through invited presentations and discussions, participants explored lessons learned from past pandemics, identified barriers to equitable and effective responses to future pandemics, and examined opportunities to overcome these obstacles through research, policy, legislation, communication, and community engagement.1
ORGANIZATION OF THE WORKSHOP SUMMARY
This workshop summary was prepared for the Forum membership in the name of the rapporteurs and includes a collection of individually-authored papers and commentary. Sections of the workshop summary not specifically attributed to an individual reflect the views of the rapporteurs and not those of the Forum on Microbial Threats, its sponsors, or the IOM. The contents of the unattributed sections are based on the presentations and discussions that took place during the workshop.
The workshop summary is organized into chapters as a topic-by-topic description of the presentations and discussions that took place at the workshop. Its purpose is to present lessons from relevant experience, delineate a range of pivotal issues and their respective problems, and to offer some potential responses as described by the workshop participants.
Although this workshop summary provides an account of the individual presentations, it also reflects an important aspect of the Forum philosophy. The workshop functions as a dialogue among representatives from different sectors and presents their beliefs about which areas may merit further attention. The reader should be aware, however, that the material presented here expresses the views and opinions of the individuals participating in the workshop and not the deliberations of a formally constituted IOM study committee. These proceedings summarize only what participants stated in the workshop and are not intended to be an exhaustive exploration of the subject matter or a representation of consensus evaluation.
While many of the papers within this report focus on pandemic influenza, these observations may apply to any pandemic, as recognized by David Heymann in his keynote address.