Burden of disease study and priority setting in Korea: An ethical perspective

So Youn Park, Ivo Kwon, In Hwan Oh

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


When thinking about priority setting in access to healthcare resources, decision-making requires that cost-effectiveness is balanced against medical ethics. The burden of disease has emerged as an important approach to the assessment of health needs for political decision-making. However, the disability adjusted life years approach hides conceptual and methodological issues regarding the claims and value of disabled people. In this article, we discuss ethical issues that are raised as a consequence of the introduction of evidencebased health policy, such as economic evidence, in establishing resource allocation priorities. In terms of ethical values in health priority setting in Korea, there is no reliable rationale for the judgment used in decision-making as well as for setting separate and distinct priorities for different government bodies. An important question, therefore, is which ethical values guiding the practice of decision-making should be reconciled with the economic evidence found in Korean healthcare. The health technology assessment core model from the European network for Health Technology Assessment (EUnetHTA) project is a good example of incorporating ethical values into decision-making. We suggest that a fair distribution of scarce healthcare resources in South Korea can be achieved by considering the ethical aspects of healthcare.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)S108-S113
JournalJournal of Korean Medical Science
StatePublished - 2016

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was supported by a grant from the Korean Health Technology R&D Project, Ministry of Health and Welfare, Republic of Korea (Grant No. HI13C0729).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 The Korean Academy of Medical Sciences.


  • Burden of Disease
  • Cost of Illness
  • Ethical Analysis
  • Health Policy
  • Korea


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