Petrie-Flom Interns’ Weekly Round-Up: 1/19-1/25

By Hyeongsu Park and Kathy Wang

Petrie-Flom Interns’ Weekly Round-Up: 1/12-1/18

By Hyeongsu Park and Kathy Wang

  • After an estimated 500,000 patients in the United States have received all-metal hip replacements that are failing early in many cases, the Food and Drug Administration is proposing rules that will require manufacturers to produce clinical data to support their devices’ safety and effectiveness.
  • A study published in Science identified people from online searches of DNA sequences, age, and a state. The result raises concerns about the difficulty of protecting the privacy of volunteers involved in medical research.
  • The Obama administration says it will give states more time to comply with the new health care law after finding that many states lag in setting up insurance exchanges.
  • The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced $1.5 billion in new grants Thursday for states to continue building their insurance exchanges under the Affordable Care Act. California, Delaware, Iowa, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, North Carolina, Oregon and Vermont received funding.
  • Pharmacies around New York City struggled to meet the demand for flu vaccinations on Sunday, a day after Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo declared a public health state of emergency in response to a drastic increase in the number of flu cases this year.
  • A new type of flu vaccine that requires less manufacturing steps and shorter production time won regulatory approval on Wednesday, and its manufacturer said that limited supplies are expected to be available this winter.
  • Quebec is slowly moving towards legal euthanasia. A committee of legal experts has delivered a 400-page report to the provincial government which argues that it should allow “medical assistance to die” when a patient is close to death and is suffering from unbearable physical or psychological pain.

Petrie-Flom Interns’ Weekly Round-Up: 1/5-1/11

By Hyeongsu Park and Kathy Wang

Petrie-Flom Interns’ Weekly Round-Up: 12/29-1/4

By Hyeongsu Park and Kathy Wang

Petrie-Flom Interns’ Weekly Round-Up: 12/22-12/28

By Hyeongsu Park and Kathy Wang

Petrie-Flom Interns’ Weekly Round-up: December 8 – December 21

By Hyeongsu Park and Kathy Wang

  • Pennsylvania governor Tom Corbett joined other Republicans in vowing not to set up a state-wide health care exchange, citing a lack of resources and preparation in order to do so. In making this decision, the Corbett administration will be allowing the Presidential administration to take charge of its exchange. This decision comes amidst large debate that basically broke down along partisan lines, with Democrats strongly pushing for a state-specific exchange.
  • Even as some states have been resisting setting up these health care exchanges, other states are moving ahead and have already garnered conditional approval for their health insurance marketplaces. These nine states, all of which are headed by Democratic governors, have expressed strong interest in carrying out the health care overhaul as swiftly as possible. Other states have been attempting to bargain for a partial expansion of Medicaid, although they have largely been met by rejection from the administration.
  • The European Institute of Bioethics released a study last week on the state of Belgium’s legalized euthanasia law, which was worded with the intent to protect the vulnerable. However, the report found several failings in the law and corresponding processes, finding on-going abuses in several areas.
  • In Australia, the most recent bioethics debate has been around overseas commercial surrogacy, as authorities attempt to reconcile legalized commercial surrogacy and the potential exploitation of women and the protection of surrogates, commissioning parents, and children.
  • Last week, AP reported that there are “fewer health care options for illegal immigrants,” highlighting a controversial point in the newly passed health care bill. Since most states do not question immigration status, it has been difficult to establish the cost of treatment of illegal immigrants.
  • In the ever-controversial debate about abortion laws, Wisconsin and Michigan have recently joined the fray. In Wisconsin, its chapter of Planned Parenthood intends to sue over abortion medication. Meanwhile, in Michigan, two bills limiting abortion moved closer to becoming law.
  • Meanwhile, overseas, the Irish government made a statement on Tuesday suggesting it would allow abortion under limited circumstances. This action is seen largely as a response to comply with demands of the European Court of Human Rights. In addition, in the Philippines, a bill intended to expand birth control to give access to the poor and those who live in rural areas was finally passed through legislation, pushing through much religious and sociopolitical challenge. As a country that is 80% Catholic, this measure had been debated for over a decade with strong opposition from the Church.
  • Last Friday, the Supreme Court decided that it would rule on a case regarding generic medicines, which has the potential to answer longstanding questions as to whether pharmaceutical companies buying out generics is a violation of antitrust law. These “pay-for-delay” deals are largely intended to allow pharmaceutical companies to continue to charge higher prices for their brand-name drugs.
  • A NY Times article highlights alternative methods of addressing the problem of a shortage of doctors, primary care physicians in particular, by relying on other medical professionals and expanding their capacities. Initiatives to allow non-doctors to take a larger role in medical care seem to be promising ways of filling this supply gap.
  • In the aftermath of the legalization of marijuana in Colorado and Washington, federal inaction has allowed marijuana proponents in California to renew their challenge of federal government closures of one of the state’s largest marijuana dispensaries.

Petrie-Flom Interns’ Weekly Round-Up: 12/1-12/7

By Hyeongsu Park and Kathy Wang

Petrie-Flom Interns’ Weekly Round-up: Nov 17-Nov 30

By Kathy Wang and Hyeongsu Park

Petrie-Flom Interns’ Weekly Round-Up: 11/10-11/16

By Hyeongsu Park and Kathy Wang

Petrie-Flom Interns’ Weekly Round-up: 11/03-11/09

By Kathy Wang and Hyeongsu Park

  • One of the lesser-heralded decisions to come from the elections this Tuesday was the LA county ballot measure requiring male actors in the porn industry to wear condoms during filming. Those opposed to the measure have begun a very vocal dissent, arguing that the industry should be able to regulate itself and that these private concerns should not be up to the discretion of the public. A porn industry trade group also made the argument that this restriction would infringe upon the freedom of expression.
  • Two foreign tobacco companies have protested a Canadian lawsuit that would impose a $50 billion dollar fine on the companies for withholding information from Ontario smokers in the 1950s about the adverse health effects of smoking.
  • On his MSNBC blog, ethicist Art Caplan questioned an expensive NIH study on the use of chelation therapy for heart patients, which showed marginal benefits at best.  He argues that heart patients should focus on what we already know works, but is harder to do: lifestyle changes.
  • California’s ballot included a measure that would require the labeling of all genetically modified food (Proposition 37).  However, this proposal was defeated, renewing conflict between advocates of those claiming the “right to know what is in our food” and biotechnology companies that have repeatedly tried to reassure the public of the safety in consuming such products. Some proponents of the measure are now hoping companies will begin voluntarily labeling or consumers will make more conscious food-purchasing decisions.
  • After Massachusetts voters decided to legalize medical marijuana, a landlord group approached lawmakers with a proposal for an “opt-out” option. The group was concerned that their constituents could be held accountable for tenants growing marijuana in their homes, and appealed to the Department of Public Health to consider this in deciding on zone ordinances and laws.