This course is discontinued

HME4206 – Topics in Health Policy

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

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Course content

Legal norms regarding public health and health care have been established in national and international law. This course addresses international treaty law regarding health care, EU and national regulation of the health care sector. Broadly the course will focus on interventions by public authorities to ensure competition in markets for goods and services, i.e. competition law, which consists of three parts: prevention or control of agreements between firms to limit competition (through cartels or tacit collusion), control over abuse of market power, and control of concentrations through mergers and acquisitions. The course will further focus on EU regulations related to cross-border care and how these are implemented in national regulations as patients rights to care, treatment and choice of providers.

Learning outcome

The main purpose of this course is to provide students with the knowledge to understand the application of and the importance of legal and economic arguments in international treaty law and to describe the countries adoptions and experiences with WTO and EU policies in the health care sector. Learning objectives are: better understanding of international legal frameworks, better understanding of national regulations of the health care sector and better understanding of the relationship between law and economics.
The course will emphasize the impact of law on the health care sector in different countries, including markets of providers, purchasers, insurers, pharmaceuticals and implications for patients. Also, the course addresses the underlying economic rationale of international rules and shows how the outcome of real-life cases may be influenced by economic understandings. The course starts with identifying the underlying principles of health law. These principles explain the ratio of regulatory intervention in health care, i.e. good health. Good health raises questions about access to medical care, human rights and health care, scarcity of resources, mobility of patients, health professionals and medical products, and market competition in health care). For instance, who has access to health care services, what is the meaning of informed consent, what services should be included/excluded from the basic benefit package, questions about professional liability in case of medical malpractice. To a large extent these questions are influenced by legal standards as defined by international treaty law. Otherwise, the right to health care has been realized by national law. For that reason, the course deals with the regulatory framework of several health systems.


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Formal prerequisite knowledge



2 weeks of classes/presentations, 3 lectures per week;
• Each lecture takes 3 hours;
• At the discretion of the lecturer, a 120-minutes lecture may be followed by:
o a 60-minute “self-study working group”; groups of, say, about 10 students each; activities of the working groups are e.g.: making exercises; working on a specific task/case; dealing with discussion questions; presenting and discussing a difficult article; working on and presenting the final paper;
o a 60-minute plenary interactive lecture, in which the lecturer and the students discuss the working group activities.


Oral presentation and term paper:

Paper: All students prepare an assignment(paper) (3,000 words) based on one of the topics discussed during the lectures. However, students are encouraged to select a subject by their own.

Examination support material


Language of examination


Grading scale

Grades are awarded on a scale from A to F, where A is the best grade and F is a fail. Read more about the grading system.

The final grade for the whole course will be a weighted average of the score for the paper (50%) and that of the written exam (50%).

Explanations and appeals

Resit an examination

Withdrawal from an examination

It is possible to take the exam up to 3 times. If you withdraw from the exam after the deadline or during the exam, this will be counted as an examination attempt.

Special examination arrangements

Application form, deadline and requirements for special examination arrangements.


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Facts about this course






Autumn 2012


Autumn 2012

Teaching language