In August 1987, the European Society for Philosophy of Medicine and Health Care (ESPMH) was founded by an international company of philosophers, physicians, ethicists and other interested professionals in the field, in the face of the growing need for critical reflection on the role of medicine and health care in our present society.
Health-related issues increasingly influence the functioning of social security and welfare systems and demands for health care strain the national budgets of most western countries. In western culture, resulting problems tend to be approached by searching exclusively for technocratic and econometric solutions.
Philosophical analysis and ethical evaluations have long been neglected. Recently however, Faculties of Medicine, professional organizations and to a certain extent, the popular mind have shown an increase in awareness of these deficiencies. New teaching programmes and research projects on meta-medical subjects are now being introduced but often meet with strong opposition, if not straightforward obstruction. Thus it seems imperative that these efforts be strengthened through contacts and cooperation at a European level.