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Impact of Journal of Law and the Biosciences Continues to Grow

The Journal of Law and Biosciences offers high-quality, open-access scholarship at the intersection of the biosciences and law. It is the first fully open-access, peer-reviewed legal journal to focus on these issues. The journal has international impact, with authors from across the globe vying for the opportunity to have their work published in the JLB.

Recently, the Journal of Law and the Biosciences received exciting news in the form of an updated impact factor score. The journal now has an impact factor of 3.583, a substantial increase from the year prior. It ranks #7 out of 151 law journals, an admirable position for the youngest journal included in the rankings. It is also second out of sixteen journals in the medical ethics category, as well as second out of seventeen journals in the legal medicine category.

In honor of this achievement, the Journal has compiled a list of the most impactful articles included in this calculation period.

The Journal continues to publish a wide variety of exciting new material. The most recent issue, which closed in June 2021, contains numerous articles from highly regarded scholars exploring hot-button issues in bioethics. The following excerpts offer a small preview of the wide breadth of analysis contained in the most recent edition.

“‘That would be dreadful’: The ethical, legal, and social challenges of sharing your Alzheimer’s disease biomarker and genetic testing results with others” by Emily A Largent, Shana D Stites, Kristin Harkins and Jason Karlawish.


Several large clinical trials are underway to discover therapies to delay or prevent the onset of dementia caused by Alzheimer’s disease (AD). A common feature of these trials is that they are testing therapies in people who do not yet have changes in memory or thinking—that is, who are cognitively unimpaired—but who have a biologically defined risk of developing dementia caused by AD. When these trials eventually succeed, it is reasonable to expect the widespread adoption of biomarker and genetic testing of cognitively unimpaired individuals into clinical practice, as well as treatment prescribed to individuals at heightened risk. Here, we report results from two qualitative studies that sought to understand with whom, why, and how individuals share their AD biomarker and genetic testing results, respectively. We found that sharing is common within the confines of close relationships. However, when sharing outside such relationships, people have multiple concerns, including stigma and discrimination. These concerns highlight the need for additional legal protections and policy changes in anticipation of the coming transformation of AD clinical care.

“Governing secondary research use of health data and specimens: the inequitable distribution of regulatory burden between federally funded and industry research” by Kayte Spector-Bagdady.


Some of the most promising recent advances in health research offer opportunities to improve diagnosis and therapy for millions of patients. They also require access to massive collections of health data and specimens. This need has generated an aggressive and lucrative push toward amassing troves of human data and biospecimens within academia and private industry. But the differences between the strict regulations that govern federally funded researchers in academic medical centers (AMCs) versus those that apply to the collection of health data and specimens by industry can entrench disparities. This article will discuss the value of secondary research with data and specimens and analyze why AMCs have been put at a disadvantage as compared to industry in amassing the large datasets that enable this work. It will explore the limitations of this current governance structure and propose that, moving forward, AMCs should set their own standards for commercialization of the data and specimens they generate in-house, the ability of their researchers to use industry data for their own work, and baseline informed consent standards for their own patients in order to ensure future data accessibility.

“The devil in the tiers” by Robin Feldman.


Prescription drug spending in the USA has soared, fueled by rising drug prices. A critical mechanism for restraining drug prices is the formulary tiering system. Although tiering should reflect the cost of a drug—and reward patients who choose less-expensive drugs—something is seriously amiss. Using Medicare claims data from roughly one million patients between 2010 and 2017, this article finds troubling amounts of distorted tiering and wasted cost. Increasingly, generics are shifted to more expensive—and therefore less accessible—tiers. The percentage of generics on the least-expensive tier drops from 73% to 28%; the percentage of drugs on inappropriate tiers rises from 47% to 74%. Considering only costs paid by patients and the federal Low-Income Subsidy Program, tier misplacement cumulatively costs society $13.25 billion over the time period. An unruly problem demands a disruptive solution. This article advances the counterintuitive regulatory reform that tiering should be based on a drug’s list price. Yes, list price—that roundly dismissed figure—should become the touchstone. This would deter incentive-distorting rebate schemes while recognizing that many people already pay list price. It is a remarkably streamlined approach for cutting through a wide swath of perverse incentives and manipulations.

Sumit Your Work to JLB

JLB is co-edited by Professors I. Glenn Cohen (Harvard Law School), Nita Farahany (Duke University School of Law), and Hank Greely (Stanford Law School). JLB contains original and response articles, essays, and commentaries on a wide range of topics, including bioethics, neuroethics, genetics, reproductive technologies, stem cells, enhancement, patent law, and food and drug regulation.

The journal is always looking to publish new, exciting work. JLB encourages the submission of original manuscripts, responses, and essays devoted to the examination of issues related to the intersection of law and the biosciences. JLB welcomes submissions of varying length, with a theoretical, empirical, practical or policy-oriented focus.

Learn more about the kind of work JLB publishes and how to submit here.

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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