Petrie-Flom Interns’ Weekly Round-up: September 29 – October 5

By Hyeongsu Park and Kathy Wang

  • On October 1, under the Affordable Care Act, Medicare started fining hospitals that have too many patients readmitted within 30 days of their discharge because of complications. A Seattle Times article covers this news.
  • On September 28, the Food and Drug Administration launched a national campaign, called BeSafeRx, to alert the public to the danger of internet pharmacies. A USA Today article reports the news in detail.
  • The Montana Supreme Court held that state restrictions on medical marijuana access and sales do not violate patients’ rights to pursue health care under the state constitution, reversing a district court opinion that blocked enforcement of new regulations on medical marijuana.
  • Ethics & Health Law News introduces Nicolas Terry‘s article about the threats to health privacy posed by recent development in data collection and processing. Terry suggests incremental revision the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) to regulate the collection and processing of health data. The article can be found here.
  • On September 25, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that parents whose children are harmed or killed by allegedly defective vaccines can’t sue the manufacturers for damages and must instead accept no-fault compensation from a national tribunal for vaccination injuries, upholding the dismissal of a suit brought by a couple whose baby son died after an immunization shot. A San Francisco Chronicle article about the news can be found here.
  • Last week, a national anti-tax activist Grover Norquist, in a letter to Georgia legislators, requested that they drop the hospital fee that raises money for the state’s Medicaid program. Norquist’s letter ignited a heated discussion over Georgia’s hospital tax. A Kaiser Health News article introduces the story.
  • According to a survey at the University of Calgary in Canada, 45 percent of respondents said that money is an acceptable incentive for organ donations from living donors, and 70 percent of them responded that cash is an acceptable enticement for people to donate their organs after death. Dr. Manns, a researcher on the survey, suggests the need to consider a system that compensates organ donors. A detailed story about the survey can be found here.

TOMORROW: Glenn Cohen on Action Speaks! Diamond v. Chakrabarty

Tomorrow, Wednesday, October 3 at 5:30 pm, Bill of Health co-editor I. Glenn Cohen will participate in a live national broadcast on regarding Diamond v. Chakrabarty, the 1980 case that first established the right to patent life.

For information on how to listen or attend the recording live in Providence, RI, click here. And for some background from Glenn on the case and current issues, click here and here.

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.

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HLS Health Law Policy Workshop – Professor Nick Bagley on Physician Bureaucrats: Why Medicare Reform Hasn’t Worked

The Petrie-Flom Center at Harvard Law School is pleased to announce this year’s Health Law Policy, Biotechnology and Bioethics Workshop. We’re delighted again to welcome a stellar lineup of leading researchers and opinion-makers in fields at the intersection of health and law.  Professors Einer Elhauge and Glenn Cohen lead the 2012-13 workshop series.

The workshop’s next presenter is Nick Bagley, Assistant Professor of Law at the University of Michigan Law School.  He will be presenting his paper, “Physician Bureaucrats: Why Medicare Reform Hasn’t Worked,” on Monday, September 24th.  A PDF of the paper is available here.

Workshops are held on selected Monday evenings, from 5-7 pm in Hauser Hall, room 105.  The schedule for Fall 2012 can be found below.  Workshops are open to the public and copies of papers will generally be posted a week in advance on the Petrie-Flom Website:

Upcoming Event – Health Care Reform: A View from Both Sides, 9/25/12

Tuesday, September 25, 2012
Austin Hall, Classroom 111
Harvard Law School

If you’re going to be in Cambridge next week, please join us for a special off-the-record debate on American health care reform, moderated by the Petrie-Flom Center’s Founding Faculty Director, Einer Elhauge.  John McDonough, official surrogate of the Obama campaign and director of the Center for Public Health Leadership at the Harvard School of Public Health, and Oren Cass, domestic policy director for the Romney campaign, will discuss what each candidate would mean for the future of US health policy.

This event is free and open to the public.  No reporting will be permitted without the express permission of the speakers. Lunch and refreshments will be served.

Co-sponsored by the Petrie-Flom Center, HLS Democrats, HLS Republicans, and HLS American Constitution Society.

Upcoming Event – What Money Can’t Buy: The Moral Limits of Markets, 9/19/12

The Petrie-Flom Center will be co-sponsoring this lecture by Michael Sandel, the Anne T. and Robert M. Bass Professor of Government at Harvard University, on his recent book What Money Can’t Buy: The Moral Limits of Markets published earlier this year. A question and answer period with Prof. Sandel and a small reception will immediately follow his lecture.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012
2019 Milstein West Conference Center, Rooms A & B
Wasserstein Hall, Harvard Law School

Upcoming Event – Petrie-Flom Center Open House, 09/18/12

This year marks the start of the Petrie-Flom Center’s 8th year at Harvard Law School.  If you’re in town, please join us at our annual open house to meet our affiliates and learn more about some exciting new initiatives we’ll be launching.  We’ll have information on our events and programs scheduled for the upcoming semester, as well as information about the vast array of programs and organizations focusing on health policy, biotechnology, and bioethics across Harvard.

September 18, 2012
Petrie-Flom Center
23 Everett St. 
Third Floor Conference Room
Cambridge, MA 02138


Petrie-Flom Center Academic Fellowship – Call for Applications

The Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology, and Bioethics at Harvard Law School is currently accepting applications for the 2013-2015 Academic Fellowship Program.  The application deadline is November 16, 2012.

The Fellowship is a postdoctoral program designed to identify, cultivate and promote promising scholars early in their careers. Fellows are selected from among recent graduates, young academics and mid-career practitioners who are committed to spending two years in residence at the Center pursuing publishable independent research that is likely to make a significant contribution to the field of health law policy, medical innovation policy or bioethics. Our prior fellows have found employment as law professors at Harvard, UC Berkeley, BU, UCLA, Cornell, the University of Arizona, and the University of Illinois.

Please see the full call for further details regarding eligibility, stipend and benefits, and application requirements.