When a patient is diagnosed with a rare diagnosis or a mortal disease, medicine and life-prolonging treatment should be offered. However, the required medicines and treatments are often expensive, and economic resources are limited. This presents public health care with some hard choices. There is a strong moral justification not to deny treatment because of cost; however, given limited resource within public health care we may have to choose whom to treat or whether to cut costs within other needed services instead.
With this conference, the Nordic Committee on Bioethics aimed to highlight fundamental ethical principles that should guide the priority settings in the modern health care. The conference was aimed at medical professionals, policy makers, academics and the general public, and was a follow-up of the NCBio workshop "Hard Choices in Nordic Health Care – Expensive treatments and priority settings", held in Stockholm in November 2015.