How Good is the Science That Informs Government Policy? A Lesson From the U.K.’s Response to 2020 CoV-2 Outbreak

How Good is the Science That Informs Government Policy? A Lesson From the U.K.’s Response to 2020 CoV-2 Outbreak

Critical Perspectives

Open AccessJournal of Bioethical Inquiry. Published online 14 October 2021.

Jessica Cooper, Neofytos Dimitriou & Ognjen Arandjelovíc

Abstract: In an era when public faith in politicians is dwindling, yet trust in scientists remains relatively high, governments are increasingly emphasizing the role of science based policy-making in response to challenges such as climate change and global pandemics. In this paper we question the quality of some scientific advice given to governments and the robustness and transparency of the entire framework which envelopes such advice, all of which raise serious ethical concerns. In particular we focus on the so-called Imperial Model which heavily influenced the government of the United Kingdom in devising its response to the COVID-19 crisis. We focus on and highlight several fundamental methodological flaws of the model, raise concerns as to the robustness of the system which permitted these to remain unchallenged, and discuss the relevant ethical consequences.

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