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Rev Assoc Med Bras (1992). 2008 Mar-Apr;54(2):183-8.

[Autohemotherapy, state intervention and bioethics].

[Article in Portuguese]

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Cátedra Unesco de Bioética da Universidade de Brasília e na Agência Nacional de Vigilância Sanitária do Ministério da Saúde - Anvisa, Brasília, DF.


The increasingly frequent practice of autohemotherapy entails a potential risk to the health of individuals since it is scientifically unproven. There are practically no clinical studies showing the efficacy and safety of this procedure; only experimental research with questionable results from studies on human beings and animals. Over the last years, the sanitary surveillance area has expanded its preventive and risk control actions based upon a precautionary philosophy in the private as well as the public sphere. By observing the theoretical and practical reference points of the "four Ps" (prevention, protection, precaution and prudence), in accordance with the epistemology developed within Intervention Bioethics, sanitary surveillance actions are based upon legal administrative policing powers. These powers are understood to be the Public Administration's competence to set conditions on and restrict the use and benefit of goods, activities and individual rights, on behalf of the common well being of people or the State itself. The Brazilian State, through its sanitary surveillance policing powers at the three levels of government, has intervened in the practice of autohemotherapy. Considering the responsible State intervention in situations of collective interest, vulnerability and susceptibility, the present study proposed to analyze the practice of autohemotherapy in the light of sanitary surveillance actions and their relationship with the "four Ps" of Intervention Bioethics.

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