Petrie-Flom Interns’ Weekly Round-up: September 16-28

[Ed. Note: We have a few weekly round-ups available here at Bill of Health (from Yale’s Interdisciplinary Center for Bioethics, and from Nic Terry‘s list of what’s worth reading each week), but we’ll give you one more from our Petrie-Flom interns for good measure.  And this week – a bonus!  A two-week round-up…]

By Hyeongsu Park and Kathy Wang

  • On Thursday, September 20, the Appellate Court of Illinois ruled that pharmacists can refuse to dispense emergency contraceptives because of religious beliefs. The court’s opinion can be found here. (And Nadia Sawicki’s post here.)
  • An article published on introduces Ben Goldacre’s book Bad Pharma: How drug companies mislead doctors and harm patients. The book describes how drug manufacturers do not disclose full information about the drugs they produce to doctors and patients, resulting in potential harms to patients.
  • The Inter-American Court of Human Rights will decide within the next few months whether Costa Rica, the only country that forbids in vitro fertilization, has infringed basic rights with its ban.
  • Two Swedish women have donated their wombs to their daughters hoping that the daughters will be able to bear children. These are the world’s first mother-to-daughter uterus transplants.
  • A BioEdge blog introduces Tom Koch’s book Thieves of Virtue: When Bioethics Stole Medicine. The book unsparingly attacks the entire discipline of bioethics and questions its raison d’etre.
  • A recent Congress-mandated report by the National Research Council voiced concerns over the implications of a growing, aging population on the economy and federal policy. The Council and corresponding experts expressed their doubts over the sustainability of programs such as Medicare, Social Security, and Medicaid and urged for policy makers to find alternatives to these programs.

  • This week, a select number of New York City high schools began distributing new forms of contraceptives such as the morning after pill to their students. While there have been some vocal critics, surveys show there has otherwise been low parental resistance to these programs. Health experts hope these efforts will lower pregnancies and STIs among the teenage population.
  • A New York Times article reports that Russia is opening its doors wider and wider to pharmaceutical and biotech companies looking for human test subjects, and the citizens are more than willing to comply. For many Russians who eagerly volunteer themselves, it is an opportunity to receive treatment and improve the health care situation in the country.
  • A bill about to be introduced to the House of Representatives is proposing the creation of a new FDA Department of Mobile Health to  keep pace with and regulate the various mobile medical apps that have appeared.
  • poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation reveals that Americans are still largely confused as to the terms and conditions of both Democratic and GOP Medicare plans. While support largely leaned towards the Democrat plan or status quo, it seems that younger people are more receptive to the GOP plan.
  • In the battle over medical marijuana in California, federal forces have set their sights on Los Angeles in a new enforcement crackdown. US attorneys have moved to bring marijuana collectives and private marijuana growers to court and the state Supreme Court is expected to rule on medical marijuana clinics in the near future.
  • The National Foundation for Infectious Disease released a statement urging people to err on the side of caution and get the flu vaccine this year. Two new strains have been predicted to hit, and while the outlook is still unpredictable, there is a large supply of vaccine ready to be administered to the public.

 See you next week!

The Petrie-Flom Center Staff

The Petrie-Flom Center staff often posts updates, announcements, and guests posts on behalf of others.

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