oa Current Allergy & Clinical Immunology - Allocating treatment for rare allergic diseases - the rule of rescue : ethics

Volume 26, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1609-3607



The rule of rescue describes the moral imperative to save individuals whose lives are endangered without any consideration of what the rescue operation may cost. One formulation of the rule of rescue as a framework for allocating resources for rare diseases includes the following requirements: the individuals should be identifiable; their lives must be endangered by a disease that is severe, progressive, and results in a decreased life expectancy if untreated; opportunity costs are involved, and there is no existing alternative treatment. I discuss arguments for and against the rule of rescue in resource allocation; it can be used as a guide for individual decision making, but is not a good public policy framework.

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