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Author Archive: Craig Klugman


Do the EPA Exposure Studies Violate Do No Harm and Informed Consent?

by Craig Klugman, Ph.D

A government agency recruits elderly and sick patients for an important research study. In a controlled environment, subjects are exposed to airborne pollutants at levels many times higher than found in the real world. Some pollutants are considered so dangerous that the FDA considers any exposure to be dangerous.

Such a scenario may sound like a historical case study of human subjects abuse, but such studies are actually the subject of an 18-month review by the EPA on ethical conduct of research. Such studies are not a secret. In fact, a 2000 article in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives talks about the benefit of exposing people to pollutants at controlled doses in controlled environments.…

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The Tyranny of Corporatized Health Care: Time for Single-Payer

by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.

In Illinois, Land of Lincoln insurance and Aetna announced that they are pulling out of the health insurance Marketplace. In other states, United HealthCare and Humana have announced pulling out of the exchanges. As a result, many newspaper headlines and political pundits have declared the Affordable Care Act (ACA, also known as Obamacare) to be in a “death spiral.”

Such statements are undermined by the latest studies showing the ACA is working. The Kaiser Family Foundation reported that three-quarters of people who lacked insurance before the ACA now have it. RAND Corp found that more people are receiving medical treatment and getting needed prescriptions as a result of the ACA.…

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This entry was posted in Featured Posts, Health Care, Health Policy & Insurance and tagged , , , . Posted by Craig Klugman. Bookmark the permalink.


Weeding Out the Truth: DEA’s New Stance on Marijuana Largely the Same as the Old

by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.

According to the Department of Justice, marijuana offenses account for 12.5% of all people in federal prisons for drug offenses. The FBI reports that 42.4% of all drug offense arrests are for possession of marijuana, which comes to about 620,000 people. Not only is marijuana illegal on the federal level, but it has historically been classified as a Schedule I drug, a designation that is supposed to mean that a substance is highly addictive and has no medical use.

With four states (CO, OR, WA, AK) permitting recreational marijuana and 25 states plus DC, Guam, and Puerto Rico enacting medical marijuana programs, the federal government recently re-examined its long-standing positions on marijuana.…

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This entry was posted in Cultural, Featured Posts, Pharmaceuticals, Public Health, Research Ethics and tagged , , . Posted by Craig Klugman. Bookmark the permalink.


Election 2016: Where do the parties stand on health

by Craig M. Klugman, Ph.D.

These recent weeks have been historical firsts in the U.S. The first time a billionaire with no political experience became a major party Presidential candidate and the first time a female became a Presidential candidate. Listening to the Republican and Democratic conventions feels like a tennis match not only for the personal lobs but also because they present such drastically different views of the world.

Part of the purpose of the convention (other than free prime time advertising and encouraging the base) is to lay out their platforms for the upcoming election. What does each party have to say about health and medicine?…

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This entry was posted in Featured Posts, Health Care, Politics, Public Health and tagged . Posted by Craig Klugman. Bookmark the permalink.


Where’s the Social Justice?

by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.

Picking up a newspaper or clicking to your favorite news site could lead one to believe that the U.S. is entering a civil war along racial divides. For 6 days in a row in Chicago, protestors have marched against police brutality—specifically police shooting young, black men. Then a former soldier tried to kill white cops in Dallas. And a shooting inside of a gay club in Orlando takes many LGBT and allies lives. The news media has drawn this debate as a racial one—cops targeting minorities; minorities targeting minorities; and the disaffected targeting law and order. At the heart of all this violence is social injustice—poverty, stigmatization, and a growing acceptability of uncivil discourse.…

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BioethicsTV: The Night Shift Needs More Sleep

by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.

Summer is a slow time for television and especially for the medical drama. One show that has been filling this warm weather slot is The Night Shift, a fairly uninteresting and poorly done drama. Frankly, I only started watching it because of its setting in a fictitious hospital in my former home of San Antonio. However, this week’s episode (Season 3, Episode 5: Get Busy Livin’) raised several ethical issues and resolved them poorly.

First, a patient is in the final stages of cancer. She has accepted her death and even has plans for one final vacation, but she runs into a physician who is not willing to let her go.…

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Dear Professional Organizations…It’s Not Me, It’s You

by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.

Dear Professional Organizations,

Being an active member of my profession is important for both my personal mission and my professional career. I enjoy coming to your meetings and finding myself among those who speak my scholarly language. At such gatherings I learn about new ideas, network with current, former and potentially new collaborators, and sometimes (when looking) find out about new opportunities for jobs, funding, and publishing. And yes, my university expects me to attend these events in order to share my work, to network, and to help with increasing the visibility and reputation of the institution.…

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This entry was posted in Featured Posts, Institutions, Centers, Funding and tagged , , . Posted by Craig Klugman. Bookmark the permalink.


BioethicsTV: Grace and Frankie Kill Their Friend

by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.

The Netflix series Grace and Frankie ended its second season with an end-of-life dilemma. The show has been hailed for its portrayal of active, interesting, and vibrant older characters and its embracing of families of all sizes, types, and colors.

Episode 11 introduces Babe, Frankie’s best friend and a free spirit who has spent her life traveling the world and collecting people. We learn that she lived life to its fullest and never shied away from a chance for adventure. Then we learn that she has metastatic stage 4 cancer. Having gone into remission from a previous cancer, Babe has decided that she has wrung every last drop out of life and rather than go through the pain of treatment or the agony of a slow death, she wants a party.…

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This entry was posted in End of Life Care, Featured Posts, Media and tagged , , . Posted by Craig Klugman. Bookmark the permalink.


Deliberating Over Ending Two Species When We Are Bringing Tens of Thousands to the Brink of Extinction

by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.

One of the first news articles I ever wrote in journalism was as an intern at Stanford Magazine. This piece was on research into a human vaccine that would do nothing for us, but would kill any mosquito who happened to bite an inoculated person. The researcher’s ethical question at the time was whether anyone would consent to getting a vaccine that does nothing for her or his personal health.

Twenty-five years later, and this month Smithsonian Magazine published an article on CRISPR-9 gene-editing techniques that will allow for the eradication of mosquitoes.  A group of scientists introduced a mutation into female mosquitoes that caused infertility—the mutation spread to 75 percent of that specific mosquito specie’s population.…

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This entry was posted in Environmental Ethics, Featured Posts, Genetics, Public Health and tagged , . Posted by Craig Klugman. Bookmark the permalink.


Why America Needs Bioethics Right Now

by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.

From the title, you probably assumed I’m going to talk about the fast changing pace of medical technology, whether we should be working on human embryos, claims that scientists will be able to do head transplants within 2 years, or even whether the Olympics should be postponed because of Zika. This blog has also paid attention to some of the orphan issues of bioethics: public health, social justice, health disparities, climate change and medicine in war, torture and guns. My interest today, though, is not on the content of bioethics, but rather on its methods of discourse.…

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This entry was posted in Clinical Ethics, Featured Posts, Politics and tagged . Posted by Craig Klugman. Bookmark the permalink.