» Politics Where the World Finds Bioethics Tue, 06 Oct 2015 01:30:42 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Helming the bioethics ship of state Fri, 02 Oct 2015 17:51:23 +0000 by Arthur Caplan, Ph.D.

10/2/15   The President issued an executive order extending the term of the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues (PCSBI) through September, 2017

This is a very interesting announcement since the last day Barack Obama will be the President of the United States is January 20, 2017.   Astute observers will note that the Commission will be advising a new President for nine months, perhaps longer. While there has been a good deal of speculation about who that next President will be, there has, sadly, been far from adequate attention paid to who the next leaders of the commission would be under a new President.…

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Drug Price Hikes and the Misguided Profit Imperative Fri, 25 Sep 2015 18:55:13 +0000 by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.

Headlines this past week were abuzz with news that Daraprim—a drug that has fought parasitic infections such as toxoplasmosis for 62 years—saw its price hiked by 5500%, nearly overnight. For decades Daraprim has been a front line drug available for $13.50 a table. When Turing Pharmaceuticals bought the company that makes the drug last month, the new owners raised the price to $750 per pill. Often used by HIV patients, the per year cost would be $634,500.…

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Clinton plan to cut health costs includes tax credits, more sick visits Wed, 23 Sep 2015 22:32:51 +0000 0 Is Bioethics Too Powerful? Thu, 17 Sep 2015 22:21:32 +0000 by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.

In an August 2015 Boston Globe opinion piece, Steven Pinker—professor of psychology at Harvard—wrote that bioethics should “Get out of the way” of medical research and technological advancement. He states that bioethics “bog[s] down research in red tape, moratoria, or threats of prosecution base on nebulous but sweeping principles such as ‘dignity,’ ‘sacredness,’ or ‘social justice’.” He goes on to say that bioethics “thwarts” research by “sowing panic about speculative harms” such as making analogies to Nazi medical experiments or referring to science fiction.…

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Science anyone? Thu, 17 Sep 2015 15:07:14 +0000

by Arthur Caplan, Ph.D.

Plenty of pundits are analyzing the Wednesday night GOP debate in terms of who won and who lost. They are missing the point. There was a huge loser in the back and forth among the contenders—the public health of the American people. Why?–the resurrection in the debate of the heinous canard that vaccination causes autism.

Donald Trump led the assault on the health of our children by proclaiming that “”We’ve had so many instances … a child went to have the vaccine, got very, very sick, and now is autistic.” Really?

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What’s next for Kim Davis? Judge says she can’t withhold marriage licenses Wed, 09 Sep 2015 20:12:40 +0000 0 What are you doing for black philosophy? Tue, 08 Sep 2015 19:44:09 +0000 by Keisha Ray, Ph.D.

“What are you doing for black philosophy?” This was the only line in a Facebook message that I received a few days ago from someone I did not know. My immediate reaction was one of anger. I kept thinking how dare someone ask me what I’m doing for black philosophy. That anger grew as I clicked the sender’s name and a profile did not come up. I drew the conclusion that this person is likely just an internet troll who found the profile of a seemingly black person with some relation to philosophy, sent this message to aggravate me, and then deactivated or deleted his or her profile.…

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Ben Carson Conducted Research on Fetal Tissue — And Defends It Fri, 14 Aug 2015 17:53:23 +0000 0 Is Donald Trump entertaining? Sat, 18 Jul 2015 23:06:20 +0000 by Arthur Caplan, Ph.D.

Is Donald Trump entertaining? Many in the media seem to think so. Coverage of Trump is intense. The Huffington Post, trying to marginalize him and his candidacy, has decided to confine coverage of his Presidential campaign to their entertainment section. But Trump is no joke. Treating him as such is inexcusable.

Promoting racism should never get a pass. Bioethicists familiar with the ways in which racism has fueled totalitarian politics and prejudice in medicine know this all too well.…

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Cancer survivors may face barriers to adoption Tue, 14 Jul 2015 21:28:26 +0000 0 Doubts About Study of Gay Canvassers Rattle the Field Fri, 05 Jun 2015 16:38:29 +0000 0 Peruvian women haunted by forced sterilization seek state apology Wed, 03 Jun 2015 19:07:54 +0000 0 U.S. Complicity and Japan’s Wartime Medical Atrocities: Time for a Response Mon, 01 Jun 2015 17:29:42 +0000 0 U.S. anti-legalization group urges more access to marijuana research Thu, 28 May 2015 15:15:44 +0000 0 U.S. says insurers must cover FDA-approved birth control methods Thu, 14 May 2015 19:39:37 +0000 0 Tension between gay, religious rights plays out at top U.S. court Tue, 28 Apr 2015 21:05:01 +0000 0 Decline in U.S. science spending threatens economy, security: MIT Mon, 27 Apr 2015 17:59:21 +0000 0 How Do Scientists’ Beliefs Differ from Those of Laypeople? Mon, 13 Apr 2015 12:51:03 +0000 Do you think it is safe to eat genetically modified foods? I do, because I believe that most foods we eat have been genetically modified. Cows wouldn’t be cows if humans hadn’t changed them genetically, through breeding practices. That also … Continue reading

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South Carolina Shooting Increases Calls for Police Body Cameras Wed, 08 Apr 2015 17:27:16 +0000 0 Abortion Wars: Arizona Mandates Unscientific “Truths” Wed, 01 Apr 2015 06:18:04 +0000 by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.

The Arizona legislature has apparently gone through medical school and graduated. They have passed a new law of the land. A person in Arizona is no longer permitted to buy health insurance on the health exchange if the plan provides coverage for abortion (except for the cases of rape, incest, or when the mother’s life is in danger).

A second provision of the law is what has troubled most people. The law now requires that a physician tell his or her patient that a medically induced abortion can be reversed.…

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Happy Birthday Obamacare! Thu, 26 Mar 2015 12:41:05 +0000 ]]> 0 Transgender people face discrimination in healthcare Fri, 13 Mar 2015 22:23:08 +0000 0 The Unique Challenge of Healthcare Reform in the US, and Why it Might All Fall Apart Fri, 13 Mar 2015 03:03:21 +0000 0 War Against Science 2.0: If You Can’t Beat ‘Em, Ban ‘Em Thu, 12 Mar 2015 22:47:27 +0000 by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.

That’s the good thing about science: It’s true whether or not you believe in it. That’s why it works-Neil deGrasse Tyson

The data of climate change is very strong: warmest average years on record, increasing extreme weather, higher carbon dioxide levels, changes in sea level, increasing droughts, decreasing snowpacks and sea ice, melting glaciers and permafrost, warmer oceans and increasing ocean acidity. With so much data in support of a changing climate, it is getting harder to be a climate denier.…

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Brazil passes femicide law to tackle rise in gender killings Tue, 10 Mar 2015 22:35:44 +0000 0 And the Ban Played On Tue, 03 Mar 2015 19:59:29 +0000 by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.

Have you taken the “Celibacy Challenge?” This satirical national campaign is in response to a proposal from the FDA that would amend the lifetime blood donation ban of men who have sex with men (MSM) to only a one-year ban. The hitch is that the men would have to refrain from sex with men for one year. They could have sex with women during that year, just not men.

This proposed one-year celibacy ban is in line with the rules of other nations.…

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How Medicine Has Fared Under ISIS Thu, 26 Feb 2015 02:51:46 +0000 by Craig M. Klugman, Ph.D.

Like much of the world, I find myself reading daily news stories about the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS)—also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL). This is a militant group that has conquered much of the territory of Syria and Iraq. They have created an Islamic state, or caliphate, run by sharia law. According to news reports, Western youth are heading to Syria to join ISIS attracted by the ideas, the adventure, belonging to a group, or generally feeling disillusioned.…

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Precision Medicine Has Imprecise Ethics Wed, 18 Feb 2015 06:59:03 +0000 by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.

How do physicians diagnose disease? First they go through a set of symptoms and then compile a list of differential diagnoses or what the underlying disease may be. Then the doctor performs tests to rule out some diagnoses and advance others. In essence, though, diseases are classified according to their affect on the body—their symptology. What if instead of by symptoms, diseases were classified by their molecular function? Instead of being diagnosed with Type II Diabetes one might be diagnosed by whether there is a death of beta cells (i.e.…

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Canadian Supreme Court: Legal Assisted Suicide In a Year Mon, 09 Feb 2015 18:12:31 +0000 by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.

A year from now, all Canadians may have the right to assisted suicide. In February 6, the Canadian Supreme Court ruled “that the prohibition on physician-assisted dying is void insofar as it deprives a competent adult of such assistance where (1) the person affected clearly consents to the termination of life; and (2) the person has a grievous and irremediable medical condition (including an illness, disease or disability) that causes enduring suffering that is intolerable to the individual in the circumstances of his or her condition.” In other words, a competent and capacitated person with a serious and unresolvable condition that creates suffering has a right to have assistance to end his or her life.…

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The Unbearable Rightness of Handwashing Wed, 04 Feb 2015 22:43:22 +0000 by Nanette Elster, JD, MPH and Kayhan Parsi, JD, PhD

You may have seen at your doctor’s office a poster showing a climber scaling a sheer cliff. Purportedly a public service ad (PSA), the casual viewer would assume that the poster is warning against the dangers of climbing. In fact, the poster warns people about the danger of not using sunscreen. The ad cleverly upends our typical perception of risk (that climbing is dangerous) with a much more pedestrian but even greater risk (getting skin cancer from too much sun).…

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Don’t Weasel Out of the Measles Vaccine Tue, 03 Feb 2015 20:00:40 +0000 by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.

By now, you have most likely been inundated with news about the measles outbreak tied to Disneyland in California. According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, there have been 102 cases of the measles linked to Disneyland through either primary exposure (they were exposed directly) or secondary exposure (they were exposed to someone who had primary exposure) in 15 states. The state of Arizona alone is monitoring over 1,000 people at risk.

The latest turn in this continuing debate is parents of immune-comprised children begging their neighbors to immunize their children.…

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Ritual Male Infant Circumcision and Human Rights Sun, 01 Feb 2015 20:01:35 +0000 0 Dad Arrested for Giving Cannabis Oil to Daughter With Cancer Wed, 21 Jan 2015 00:29:14 +0000 0 (Golden) Global Change and LGBT Rights Thu, 15 Jan 2015 12:05:35 +0000 ]]> 0 Worrying about patient satisfaction only harms the patient Wed, 14 Jan 2015 11:00:52 +0000 by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.

Anyone who has been in a hospital in the last 9 years has encountered a patient satisfaction survey. This national survey provides rankings of hospitals based on how satisfied patients are with their experience. The Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) “is a survey instrument and data collection methodology for measuring patients perceptions for their hospital experience.” For anyone who works in a hospital, the results of this survey can mean raises, firings, and changes of position.…

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Physician, Torture Thyself Thu, 18 Dec 2014 14:27:45 +0000 ]]> 0 Patients Abandoned—Who is to blame? Mon, 15 Dec 2014 03:12:43 +0000 0 The CIA Torture Report: Health, Medicine & Ethics Thu, 11 Dec 2014 08:02:12 +0000 by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.

On Tuesday, December 9, the U.S. Senate Select Committee on intelligence released its long awaited report on CIA interrogation and torture. This 500-page executive summary details the results of six years of investigations that covered over 6 million pages of records. What was discovered is that torture was more brutal and extensive than reported, that information was kept secret, that the programs were mismanaged and lacked oversight, and that most likely no information came out of it.…

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James and Lamar’s Excellent Adventure Thu, 04 Dec 2014 02:12:11 +0000 0 The New Abortion Issue: The Moral Status of Women Mon, 17 Nov 2014 03:11:17 +0000 0 Quarantine: The politics are as real as the science Thu, 30 Oct 2014 02:10:51 +0000 0 Fear and Loathing in Liberia Thu, 23 Oct 2014 12:31:43 +0000 ]]> 0 Guatemala may weigh softer drug punishments in liberalization push Wed, 15 Oct 2014 20:45:42 +0000 0 Why we ignored Ebola until recently Wed, 15 Oct 2014 00:52:30 +0000 by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.

Ebola burst onto the scene in 1976 when a thirty-old man arrived at the Yambuku Mission Hospital in Zaire complaining of severe diarrhea. He left the hospital two days afterwards and was never found again. In the days and weeks that followed, people who were patients or care providers at this facility when he was there all died after experiencing dehydration, fever, vomiting, diarrhea, and bleeding everywhere. The death rate was staggering, as over 80% of affected patients did not recover.…

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Yes, Obamacare is a Success Fri, 10 Oct 2014 10:10:55 +0000 0 Wal-Mart raises healthcare costs, cuts benefits for some part-timers Wed, 08 Oct 2014 18:14:47 +0000 0 The Church’s Gay Obsession Mon, 06 Oct 2014 17:05:11 +0000 0 A Primer on Ebola: Ethics, Public Health, and Panic Wed, 01 Oct 2014 20:33:38 +0000 by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.

Ebola is in the news a lot with the diagnosis of the first case on U.S. soil (excluding the 4 cases of health workers who were repatriated from West Africa after falling ill with the disease). Lots of information is flying around the internet and the news media. The ethics of outbreaks is not a new topic and has been written about extensively in this blog as well as elsewhere. Experts in public health ethics have addressed this issue thoroughly.…

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Dollars to Doctors: Sun Rises on Sunshine Act’s Open Payments Database Tue, 30 Sep 2014 07:15:50 +0000 by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.

Today, Tuesday, September 29, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services will release most of the Open Payments database. The public will now have access to the monetary value of gifts, marketing, and payments for clinical testing made by the pharmaceutical industry to physicians. The database is being rolled out 12 days later than planned and with one-third of the 2013 data unavailable until June 2015: There have been some glitches including mix-up of names and wrong provider and license numbers entered.…

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A simple change? The IOM Report on “Dying in America” Thu, 18 Sep 2014 05:15:42 +0000 by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.

Say there was a simple change that could be made to the health care system that would reduce cost, reduce demand, increase patient’s quality of life and satisfaction, address the whole patient and not just the disease, improve care coordination, and increase patient autonomy. All of this is possible, but it requires addressing the problem that in America we do not die as we want to.

This week the Institute of Medicine released its latest report,  Dying in America: Improving Quality and Honoring Individual Preferences Near the End of Life.…

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