Don’t Ask What Money Can Do For the Opioid Plaintiffs, Ask What Pharma Can Do For Them

Jennifer Oliva’s insightful commentary on Oklahoma’s settlement with Purdue Pharma and the Sackler family detailed the settlement terms and posed important questions about the sufficiency of the agreed damages. I’d like to push a little further on a couple of fronts.

First, what does the journey from Cleveland, Ohio to Norman, Oklahoma tell us about the opioid litigation and the multi-district (MDL) process, some aspects of which I have addressed elsewhere. Second, while dollar figures (expressed in profits, harms, and even philanthropy) have dominated the headlines, should we be paying more attention to non-monetary remedies?

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Special Indiana Health Law Review Volume to Honor Professor Eleanor Kinney: Request for Proposals


Our celebrated and generous colleague Eleanor Kinney passed away late last year. To honor her and her legacy, the Indiana Health Law Review is soliciting papers for an honorary special issue. The papers should be substantive new work by the author, but we invite the author to reflect on Eleanor’s work, legacy, or the how the work submitted was influenced by Eleanor’s work.

This is an initial call for proposals. Proposals should take the form of an abstract in the 100-200 word range. Abstracts will be reviewed by an editorial committee comprised of IU McKinney faculty and past and present editors of the Indiana Health Law Review. Abstracts should be submitted before June 1, 2019 in order to be considered for this special issue. Final papers should be 4,000-6,000 words in length and will be due by August 15, 2019. Read More

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Karen DeSalvo on ‘The Week in Health Law’ Podcast

For over two decades, Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law, in conjunction with the IU School of Medicine, has conferred the McDonald-Merrill-Ketcham Memorial Award for Excellence in Law and Medicine.

This year’s honoree was Dr. Karen DeSalvo, who is currently Professor of Medicine and Population Health at the University of Texas at Austin Dell Medical School. She served in the Obama Administration as National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, and Acting Assistant Secretary for Health, and previously was the Health Commissioner for the City of New Orleans.

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Wendy Mariner on ‘The Week in Health Law’ Podcast

Midterm Takeaways Director’s Cut: I am joined by Professor Wendy Mariner, Professor of Health Law at Boston University School of Public Health and Professor of Law at Boston University School of Law. It was three days after the midterm elections and we thought it would be a good idea to reflect on some of the health law and policy stories. Here’s the complete list.

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Wendy Parmet on ‘The Week in Health Law’ Podcast

the week in health law podcast logoIf you listened to the last episode of TWIHL you may recall that it was recorded early on October 26, 2018 just before I kicked off our conference on the intersection of health care and immigration policy.

Thereafter, it was my distinct pleasure to welcome Wendy Parmet as our keynote speaker.

Professor Parmet is the Matthews Distinguished University Professor of Law and Director, Center for Health Policy and Law; Professor of Public Policy and Urban Affairs, Northeastern University School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs. With Patricia Illingworth she authored The Health of Newcomers, Immigration, Health Policy, and the Case for Global Solidarity, published last year by NYU Press. Wendy was most generous in letting me share her compelling talk here on TWIHL. Read More

Reports on the Opioid Crisis are Full of Misidentified Problems and Poorly Calibrated Solutions

This post is part of a symposium from speakers and participants of Northeastern University School of Law’s annual health law conference, Diseases of Despair: The Role of Policy and Law, organized by the Center for Health Policy and Law.

All the posts in the series are available here.

By Nicolas Terry

The epidemic associated with Opioid Use Disorder (OUD) has birthed a proliferation of reports, many with notable provenance. They include the Surgeon General’s Report (2016), the President’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis (2017),  and the National Governors Association Recommendations for Federal Action to End the Nation’s Opioid Crisis (2018). We can add innumerable regional and state reports to that list.

Placed next to each other, their recommendations are broadly similar. While they may differ somewhat to the extent that they emphasize criminalization versus medicalization, overall, they tend to coalesce around harm reduction (such as broad naloxone availability and syringe exchanges), upstream opioid reduction strategies (such as prescription limits and prescription drug monitoring programs), and increased public health surveillance based on improved data collection and analysis.

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Thad Pope on ‘The Week in Health Law’ Podcast

By Nicolas Terry and Frank Pasquale

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Our guest this week is Thaddeus Mason Pope, Director of the Health Law Institute and Professor of Law at Mitchell Hamline School of Law. Thad is also a Ph.D. with multiple global academic posts. This week we discuss grave and complex problems in end of life care, focusing on the tragic case of Jahi McMath. Thad recently published “Brain Death Forsaken,” and offers a wealth of insight on this and similar situations. The definition of death has complex implications for insurance, reimbursement, malpractice, and even criminal law.

The Week in Health Law Podcast from Frank Pasquale and Nicolas Terry is a commuting-length discussion about some of the more thorny issues in Health Law & Policy. Subscribe at Apple Podcasts, listen at Stitcher Radio Tunein, or Podbean, or search for The Week in Health Law in your favorite podcast app. Show notes and more are at TWIHL.com. If you have comments, an idea for a show or a topic to discuss you can find us on Twitter @nicolasterry @FrankPasquale @WeekInHealthLaw.

Carl Ameringer on ‘The Week in Health Law’ Podcast

By Nicolas Terry and Frank Pasquale

Subscribe to TWIHL here!

This week features a first time visit from Carl Ameringer, professor of health policy and politics at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia. A lawyer with a PhD in political science, he is an expert on issues surrounding our national debate on health care reform. We discuss his latest book “US Health Policy and Health Care Delivery: Doctors, Reformers, and Entrepreneurs,” published by Cambridge University Press. Our conversation connects the past and future of American health care, from 19th century development to the ACOs of the ACA. We close with some reflections on path-dependence: is American exceptionalism a permanent impediment to health sector rationalization, or does it provide some models for improvement? Muddling through history, policy, and law has rarely been more edifying, and we hope you enjoy the conversation as much as we did.

The Week in Health Law Podcast from Frank Pasquale and Nicolas Terry is a commuting-length discussion about some of the more thorny issues in Health Law & Policy. Subscribe at Apple Podcasts, listen at Stitcher Radio Tunein, or Podbean, or search for The Week in Health Law in your favorite podcast app. Show notes and more are at TWIHL.com. If you have comments, an idea for a show or a topic to discuss you can find us on Twitter @nicolasterry @FrankPasquale @WeekInHealthLaw.

Dystopian Memes on ‘The Week in Health Law’ Podcast

By Nicolas Terry and Frank Pasquale

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It’s a stormy healthcare landscape out there, so this show is all lightning round. We cover several areas:

Litigation: Nic provides the Ariadne’s thread through a labyrinthine pharma-tort judgment out of California. The metal on metal hip litigation has resulted in a big judgment, but medical device regulation is still fundamentally broken. Disgruntled Centene enrollees are suing the ACA insurer of last resort for ultra-narrow networks (and Washington state is not happy, either). Washington may lead the way for future narrow network regulation or consent decrees. We followed up on the duodenoscope superbug litigation saga, focusing on duties to translate foreign language emails in discovery.

Regulation: We discussed a crisis in long-term care, following up on last week’s discussion with Paul Osterman. Medicare is not making it any easier for many who qualify for help. We reviewed the new priorities of HHS’s Conscience Rights, er, Civil Rights Division (and potential responses to conscience claims). The rise of Medicaid work requirements is a hot topic, as Kentucky Governor Bevin imposed them last week. Read More