In this paper, we view health strategies in the field of personalised medicine as performative actions which articulate the development desired for a given society and demonstrate and affirm values and visions for that society.
Based on a qualitative study in Denmark, we show how political actors and policy documents articulate visions for personalised medicine through a distinct sociotechnical imaginary. This sociotechnical imaginary mobilises the distinction between non-profit public and for-profit private organisations, placing personalised medicine in the public domain as the self-evidently desirable future for Danish health care.
In the Danish case, the issue of implementing personalised medicine becomes an opportunity to revisit the vision for the welfare state and verify public institutions as a shared space for state and citizens.
While Danish political actors see personalised medicine as transformative, they articulate this transformation as being steered by public actors, at the same time downplaying the role of private companies.
Where public health studies have focused on how political investments into personalised medicine may marginalise specific groups and populations, the Danish case shows that also powerful transnational players may be excluded from political discourse. It teaches us not to treat personalised medicine as one phenomenon, but to pay direct attention to the local contexts in which it operates and shapes what ‘public’ and ‘health’ become.