Health Care Analysis

, Volume 13, Issue 1, pp 59–71 | Cite as

Evidence-based Medicine: Why do Opponents and Proponents use the same Arguments?

  • A. Gerber
  • K. W. Lauterbach


There is quite some ethical controversy on Evidence-based Medicine (EbM) with regard to issues of physician autonomy as well as its allocative implications. Yet, there are some shortcomings in the current debate. First of all, some of the arguments brought up against EbM are similarly defaults of “classical medicine” as well, for instance its negligence of social aspects of medicine. Second, it is often maintained that EbM is just a tool to attain cost containment. This argument is false in two regards for neither is there any idea of cutting costs in the roots of EbM nor does EbM once practiced necessarily lead to less costs as there can be underuse as well as overuse. Third, both opponents and proponents of EbM come up with the same arguments against each other. Both maintain that the other way of practicing medicine does not allow for physicians’ autonomy and free judgment. Therefore, we are going to search for the different presuppositions on which these “reproaches” rely. In this way we can demonstrate that both opponents and proponents rely on different notions of autonomy and free judgment in their argument. Finally, we hope to show that some of the ethical criticism may be raised against classical medicine as well and that allocation in terms of costs is not primarily an aim of EbM.


EbM ethics autonomy health economy allocation 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, Inc. 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.IGKE (Institut fuer Gesundheitsoekonomie und Klinische Epidemiologie = Institute of Health Economics and Clinical Epidemiology)KölnGermany
  2. 2.IGKE (Institut fuer Gesundheitsoekonomie und Klinische Epidemiologie = Institute of Health Economics and Clinical Epidemiology)KölnGermany

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