Orthofix to pay $14 million to settle charges it paid off doctors: U.S. SEC

Reuters, 18 January 2017
Author: David Alexander
“Texas-based medical device company Orthofix International NV has admitted wrongdoing and agreed to pay more than $14 million to settle charges that it improperly booked revenue and paid off doctors in Brazil to boost sales, U.S. regulators said on Wednesday.”
Find article here.

FDA issues draft guidance to better medical product labeling

Reuters, 18 Janauary 2017
Author: Divya Grover
“The U.S. health regulator issued draft guidance, recommending ways to communicate promotional materials and additional information that is not on the label of medical products. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration typically determines what information goes on the labels of medical drugs and devices, after evaluating whether the product is safe and effective for the proposed indication. Drugmakers have long wanted to communicate supplementary information that isn’t on the label, but which concerns the cleared use of the product.”
Find article here.

Anti-abortion report challenges law reform in Northern Ireland

The Guardian, 18 January 2017
Author: Henry McDonald
“A report by anti-abortion campaigners in Northern Ireland has claimed that 100,000 people were born in the region because the 1967 Abortion Act was never extended to the province. The Both Lives Matter report published on Wednesday comes as the former justice minister in Northern Ireland confirmed this week that he will resubmit his private member’s bill in the next Stormont assembly calling on the new devolved parliament to legalise abortions in cases of fatal foetal abnormalities where the pregnancies are doomed.”
Find article here.

Abortion’s moral questions are best addressed outside criminal law

Daily Nation, 18 January 2017
Author: Liza Kimbo
“The World Health Organisation estimates that in 2008 alone, Africa lost about 29,000 young girls and women to unsafe abortion. It is estimated that 60 per cent of all deaths from unsafe abortion in Africa occur among women and girls under the age of 25, and 14 per cent of all maternal deaths on the continent are related to unsafe abortion. The highly criminalised nature of the procedure and related stigma in Africa has contributed to the high number of deaths and injuries from unsafe abortion.”
Find article here.

New report offers global resource on using the law to improve health

WHO, January 2017
Source: World Health Organization
“Soda tax in Mexico. Salt limits in South Africa. Plain tobacco packaging in Australia. National health insurance in Ghana. Mandatory motorcycle helmets in Vietnam. Health care in the United States of America. They’re just some of the hundreds of examples of the vital role the law plays in safeguarding and promoting good health around the world. A new report from WHO, in collaboration with the International Development Law Organization (IDLO), the University of Sydney, and Georgetown University in Washington, DC, describes the many ways in which the law makes a crucial difference for public health.”
Find article here.

The ethics of tracking athletes’ biometric data

MedicalXpress, 18 January 2017
Author: Heather Zeiger
“Biometric technologies have become household devices. Professional sports leagues use some of the most technologically advanced biodata tracking systems to monitor athlete performance as well as prevent potential injuries. Many of these tracking devices involve around the clock surveillance of athletes’ bio signs raising several bioethical questions that apply to everyday users as well. Questions of privacy, autonomy, confidentiality, and conflicts of interest are just a few of the bioethical issues raised by new biodata tracking technologies.”
Find article here.

Controversial patient-consent proposal left out of research-ethics reforms

Nature, 18 January 2017
Author: Sara Reardon
“In a blow to patient-privacy advocates, the US government has abandoned a plan that would have required scientists to obtain the consent of people who donate biological samples before using the material in subsequent studies. Most of the changes to the 26-year-old Common Rule are intended to lessen the regulatory burden on researchers. They eliminate requirements that researchers obtain individual approval from ethics boards at every institution where a study will be performed, for instance.”
Find article here.

Uneasy About the Ethics of Egg Donation

The Atlantic, 17 January 2017
Author: Chris Bodenner
“The following reader tells the story of her long battle with infertility that culminated with the successful use of donated eggs. But despite the happy ending, she struggles with uneasy questions about the ethics of the donor industry and the “massive resentment” she harbors toward her husband.”
Find article here.

Drugmakers Manipulate Orphan Drug Rules To Create Prized Monopolies

Kaiser Health News, 17 January 2017
Author: Sarah Jane Tribble and Sydney Lupkin
“A Kaiser Health News investigation shows that the system intended to help desperate patients is being manipulated by drugmakers to maximize profits and to protect niche markets for medicines already being taken by millions. The companies aren’t breaking the law but they are using the Orphan Drug Act to their advantage in ways that its architects say they didn’t foresee or intend. Today, many orphan medicines, originally developed to treat diseases affecting fewer than 200,000 people, come with astronomical price tags.”
Find article here.

The Limits of Sugar Guidelines

The Atlantic, 17 January 2017
Author: Nina Teicholz
“A firestorm recently erupted over a paper in the Annals of Internal Medicine that found official advice limiting sugar in diets to be based on “low” or “very low” quality evidence. Because a food-industry group had funded the study, a slew of critics accused the authors of distorting the science to undermine nutrition guidelines and make sugar seem less harmful than it actually is. One prominent nutrition professor called the paper “shameful.” “It was really an attempt to undermine the scientific process,” said another. Lost in this torrent of criticism was any significant discussion of the science itself. Regardless of its funding source, was the paper correct in saying that there is insufficient evidence to recommend limiting sugar? And do official guidelines even matter, since we pretty much know that sugar is bad for us?”
Find article here.