Another peep behind the veil

John McKie, Helga Kuhse, Jeff Richardson, Peter Singer

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Harris argues that if QALYs are used only 50% of the population will be eligible for survival, whereas if random methods of allocation are used 100% will be eligible. We argue that this involves an equivocation in the use of 'eligible', and provides no support for the random method. There is no advantage in having a 100% chance of being 'eligible' for survival behind a veil of ignorance if you still only have a 50% chance of survival once the veil is lifted. A 100% chance of a 50% chance is still only a 50% chance. We also argue that Harris provides no plausible way of dealing with the criticism that his random method of allocation may result in the squandering of resources.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)216-221
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Medical Ethics
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1996
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Health(social science)
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Health Policy
  • Issues, ethics and legal aspects


  • Health economics
  • QALY
  • Resource allocation


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