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Dean on the Ethics of Covert Medication Via Food


Megan Dean
Megan Dean

Megan Dean, the Truax Postdoctoral Fellow and visiting assistant professor of philosophy, is the co-author of an article published recently in the Journal of Medical Ethics. “Covert Administration of Medication in Food: A Worthwhile Moral Gamble?” was written with Laura Guidry-Grimes of the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences and Elizabeth Kaye Victor of William Paterson University.

The authors said that few laws govern the relatively common practice of administering medication in food without patient knowledge in institutional and homecare contexts. They explored the ethical importance of eating and the risks associated with patient discovery of covert medication, including putting therapeutic relationships in jeopardy.

The Journal of Medical Ethics also featured a blog post by Dean and her co-authors. In “What’s in the applesauce? The ethics of covert administration of medication in food,” they note that mistrust can develop when a caregiver reveals that medication was deceptively administered. On the other hand, by not revealing the deception, “the patient remains ignorant of important health information that could inform their preferences and decision-making.”

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