Bill of Health -man in glasses sitting in office holds yellow book labeled "PREP Act," PREP act pandemics, nursing home lawsuits

How a National Emergency Can Bring the Monkeypox Outbreak Under Control

By James G. Hodge, Jr., J.D., LL.M. and Lawrence O. Gostin, J.D.

Monkeypox is America’s newest emergency—and not a moment too soon. On August 4, 2022, Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra declared monkeypox a national public health emergency(PHE). His declaration was proceeded by the global designation via the World Health Organization on July 23, and emergency pronouncements by multiple states (California, Illinois, New York) and cities (New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco) the week prior.

Designating monkeypox a national PHE is a turning point in U.S. response efforts following moribund early efforts over the first 100 days of the outbreak. Now, with over 7,500 reported cases across the U.S., and thousands more globally, the case for declaring a PHE is clear.

Read More

Washington, DC USA May 3 2022: Protesters gather at the US Supreme Court after a report that the count will overturn Roe vs Wade, ending the constitutional right to abortion.

An Ob/Gyn Reflects on Dobbs: ‘The Time Has Passed for Neutrality’

By Samantha DeAndrade

Last week, in response to a petition written by myself and colleagues, the American Board of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ABOG), which is headquartered in Texas, reversed its decision to pursue in-person board certification exams.

In light of the Supreme Court’s ruling in Dobbs vs. Jackson Women’s Health, my colleagues and I held grave concerns about traveling to Dallas, Texas for this credentialing exam. We worried for our patients, our colleagues, and — though hard to admit it — ourselves.

In our petition, we cited concerns about the well-being of our pregnant colleagues who might encounter a pregnancy complication while in Texas and not have the full range of life-saving, evidence-based options available. We also expressed fear for our personal safety as abortion providers in a state where anti-abortion vigilantes are allowed to sue anyone who performs or assists in a pregnancy termination. It also felt wrong to contribute to the economy of a state that has passed the most restrictive abortion laws in recent history; a decision we know is about power and politics, not patient safety.

Read More

Gavel and stethoscope.

The Journal of Law and the Biosciences’ Growing Impact

The Journal of Law and Biosciences, a co-venture between Duke University, Harvard Law School, and Stanford University, offers high-quality, open-access scholarship at the intersection of the biosciences and law. The Journal, which is published by Oxford University Press, is the first fully open-access, peer-reviewed legal journal to focus on these issues.

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 6.066, a substantial increase from the year prior. It ranks third out of 56 ethics journals, second out of sixteen journals in the medical ethics category, second out of 154 law journals, and first out of seventeen journals in the legal medicine category.

The following excerpts highlight the cutting-edge scholarship published in the Journal‘s most recent issue, which closed in June 2022.

Read More

Nov 22, 2019 Palo Alto / CA / USA - Close up of Amazon logo and Smile symbol at one of their corporate offices located in Silicon Valley, San Francisco bay area.

One Medical Acquisition: The Path Forward

This piece has been adapted slightly from its original form, which was published at On the Flying Bridge on July 24, 2022.

By Michael Greeley

Last week’s $3.9 billion acquisition of One Medical (NASDAQ: ONEM) by Amazon triggered significant hyperventilating about the transformative and immediate impact of this transaction on the health care industry. Interestingly, Amazon’s market capitalization increased 1.4% or $18.3 billion on the day of the announcement, paying for the purchase a few times over. Undoubtedly there could be exciting near-term benefits for the 750,000 ONEM members as their Amazon Prime accounts are linked to their ONEM memberships, facilitating targeted Whole Food and Amazon Pharmacy coupons. But what we might expect to see over time is a provocative debate with powerful implications for how each of us manage the arc of our health care journeys.
Read More

Supreme Court of the United States.

Where Exactly Is the New Constitutional Line Between Abortion and Contraception?

By Einer Elhauge

The new Supreme Court decision in Dobbs overrules the right to abortion but repeatedly reaffirms the right to contraception. Whether that distinction can be justified under the Court opinion’s constitutional methodology has been the subject of much critique. Here, however, I wish to focus on a different question: just where is the new constitutional line between abortion and contraception after Dobbs?

The dissent takes the Court opinion to eliminate any constitutional right “from the very moment of fertilization.” But the Court opinion never says so, and for good reason. The Court’s analysis rests heavily on the fact that the lion’s share of states banned abortion “at all stages of pregnancy” at the time the Fourteenth Amendment was ratified in 1868. The state statutes on which the Court relied for this conclusion were all limited to terminations of “pregnancy” or efforts to procure the “miscarriage” of a pregnant woman.

Read More

Vaccines.

COVID-19, Patents, and Trade Secrets

By David Gindler & Jasper L. Tran

Has the worldwide distribution of COVID-19 vaccines been impacted by patent rights? David Gindler, head of IP at Milbank LA, and Jasper L. Tran, senior associate at Milbank LA, argue that the story is much more complicated — making vaccines involves much more than waiving patents, they explain.

The following article, which is adapted from the authors’ conversation with Vanderbilt Law Review podcast editor Jacob Goodman on Hot Topics in Intellectual Property Law, provides an overview of the complicated intellectual property landscape associated with COVID-19 vaccines and therapeutics.

Read More

Washington, DC, USA, May 5, 2022: people protest the leaked draft Supreme Court opinion overturning Roe v. Wade and the right to abortion

Stemming Supreme Court Rights Reversals

By James G. Hodge, Jr.

Based on the May 2022 leak of an initial draft, most believe the Supreme Court will carry through some rescission of abortion rights later this month through its final opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization.

Already, concerns have arisen over other freedoms the Court may seriously reconsider down the road, including rights to gay marriage, intimacy, contraception, and informational privacy.

Read More

Magazines on wooden table on bright background.

Citational Racism: How Leading Medical Journals Reproduce Segregation in American Medical Knowledge

By Gwendolynne Reid, Cherice Escobar Jones, and Mya Poe

Biases in scholarly citations against scholars of color promote racial inequality, stifle intellectual analysis, and can harm patients and communities.

While the lack of citations to scholars of color in medical journals may be due to carelessness, ignorance, or structural impediments, in some cases it is due to reckless neglect.

Our study demonstrates that the American Medical Association (AMA) has failed to promote greater racial inclusion in its flagship publication, the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), despite an explicit pledge to do so.

Read More

People wearing masks on bus.

Flaws in the Textualist Argument Against the CDC Mask Mandate

By Stefan Th. Gries, Michael Kranzlein, Nathan Schneider, Brian Slocum, and Kevin Tobia

In Health Freedom Defense Fund, Inc. v. Biden, the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida ruled that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s transit mask order, which was issued to stem the spread of SARS-CoV-2, exceeds the agency’s statutory authority, and struck down the mandate through a nation-wide injunction.

The district court’s reasoning exemplifies modern textualism. It focuses on the text of the 1944 Public Health Services Act (PHSA), which the Biden Administration claims authorizes the CDC’s transit mask order. The court relied heavily on the statute’s “ordinary meaning” and especially one word: “sanitation.”

Does the evidence support the court’s linguistic conclusions? Our team — of linguists, social scientists, philosophers of language, and lawyers — took a second look. We conclude that the district court’s approach fails on its own textualist terms. It gives the impression of selective reading of the linguistic record, rather than the careful investigation of meaning that textualism claims to champion.

Read More