Personalized Medicine – Legal aspects

Friday, 16. September 2011 | 9:15 Uhr


Brigitte Tag


University Zurich


Professor Brigitte Tag, University of Zurich, explained that personalized medicine will essentially increase the access to information. The doctor-patient relationship will change. And patients will be required to be more competent. Personalized medicine also poses economic and societal questions. From a legal point of view, therapeutic area and clinical research are affected. Doctors are obliged to inform patients. However, patients also have to know that they have a right to self-determination. In principal, doctors have to decide what therapy might be appropriate. If there are several therapies with different chances and risks for the patients, patients should take part in the decision-making processes. This implies that medical treatment requires the prior consent of the patient. Here, it is a prerequisite that the patient concerned is capable of judgment. Brigitte Tag emphasized that additional legal frameworks have to be taken into account. The Law on Research Involving Humans will provide different guidelines in the future such as the principle of subsidiarity, proportionality, gratuitousness and anonymisation. Handling of data and biological material will also be regulated. The law is expected to enter into force in Switzerland in summer 2013. The future will show whether the rules are successful and the objectives are achieved.

Brigitte Tag

Brigitte Tag, full professor of criminal law, criminal proceeding and medical law, University of Zurich (UZH). She studied law at the University of Heidelberg, passed there the “First Legal State Exam” and the “Second Legal State Exam” and achieved her PhD in the field of white collar crime. Her postgraduate studies concerned the triangle of conflicting priorities among criminal law, medicine and medical ethics.

In 2000 she was awarded the venia legendi in criminal law, criminal proceedings and medical law. After being visiting professor at the Humboldt-University Berlin and the Technical University Dresden she was appointed as a full-professor on the law faculty at the UZH in 2002.

Among other positions and functions Brigitte Tag is Delegate of the Professorate at the University Council at the UZH, President of the Gender Equality Commission UZH, Investigating Person in suspicious cases of sexual harassment, Programme Director of “PhD, Biomedical Ethics and Law”, Law Track, President of the Executive Committee of the Competence Centre Medicine – Ethic – Law Helveatiae MERH and Dean of the Class Social Sciences Law and Economies of the European Academy of Sciences and Arts.

In addition to this she still maintains her position as an attorney in Germany. In 1996 she was awarded with the “Prize for Best Teaching of the German Federal State Baden-Württemberg”, in 2009 with the “Credit Suisse Award for Best Teaching” University of Zurich. In May 2010 Prof. Tag was admitted a member of the Swiss Academy of Medical Sciences.

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