Legal Perspectives on Precision Medicine and Life Science

Anne Kjersti Befring, Associate Professor at the University of Oslo.

Which genetic analyses are allowed to be performed within health care and which rules apply to patient treatments that utilize technology? In this episode, Anne Kjersti and Silvija discuss matters of making complex questions understandable and that there are often complex assessments behind what appears to be elementary.

Follow this link to listen to the podcast!

Learnings from the episode

  • Managing biological data
  • Legal instruments
  • Regulations
  • Innovation in health care

This article is from an episode of #Lørn, made in collaboration with LørnTech

Quick Q and A with Anne Kjersti

Title and company

Associate professor in health law and life science at The Faculty of Law (UiO). 

Education and hobby

Lawyer and textbook author who has contributed to write about 15 books.

Work experience: The Norwegian Board of Health Supervision (Helsetilsynet), Norwegian Directorate of Health (Helsedirektoratet), Norwegian Ministry of Health and Care Services (HOD), as well as The Norwegian Medical Association (NMA). I became a researcher after being a manager for 18 years to do research on precision medicine. 

Hobbies include research, the outdoors, sports and history. I also love music and culture.

Who are you personally / professionally?

The most important part of my work at The Facutly of Law is to guide and teach students whilst doing research. I am interested in collaboration across disciplines, innovative thinking in regards to ways of working and other methods.

Over the past years, my task has been to understand the different effects of new technology and medical knowledge to identify new legal questions and perspectives that many have not thought of. 

Why do you find this exciting? 

This is brand-new and there is a demand for innovative thinking on the manner in which we figure out how new technology is going to be regulated and should be regulated. 

" Tensions arise between a traditional view of the law and what may be a threat to the law when we do not change the way we think during pandemics like COVID-19 and as exemplified by the CORONA-Act. "

The importance of the aforementioned is exemplified by the CORONA-pandemic where large tensions arise between traditional- and new approaches due to the pandemic being a new situation with a high degree of urgency. I have participated in the debate about the CORONA-Act and on measures decided by Norwegian municipalities, The Norwegian Directorate of Health and - Government. Tensions and conflicts constantly arise between what is justified when considering all people versus the individual, here and now, as well as our ability to decide. For example, this applies to datasharing for the accumulation of medical knowledge and protection of individuals as it may interfere with privacy.

Your own, relevant projects over the last year?

I defended my dissertation in March 2019 on the topic: Legal perspectives on personalized medicine. Currently, I am editing an article collection on legal aspects of artificial intelligence and Big Data in the health sector.

Moreover, I have worked on several interesting issues on the BigMed-project. It was exciting to categorize genetic variants in a legal context and to evaluate what the prudential considerations should comprise, as considerations like these must comprise more than the protection of privacy. 

What knowledge do you think is relevant for the future?

To understand the role of law and use legal tools when new technology is utilized. 

Food for Thought

How can we make better use of our resources and streamline the Norwegian health care sector to continue the ongoing development in precision medicine? 

Anne Kjersti Befring

Associate Professor at the Faculty of Law, UiO

+47 958 27 358

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Relevant Projects


Classified Variants are Anonymous

I BigMed-prosjektet er det foretatt en vurdering av om fortolkede genetiske varianter er anonyme og hvordan grensen mellom anonyme og personidentifiserbare genetiske opplysninger kan trekkes
Consent Management for Genomics

Consent Management for Genomics

With the increased utilization of genomic sequencing in the clinical context in Norway, practical and ethical issues in the development of the content and process of informed consent (IC) are emerging. Challenges exist in bridging the