House Provision Offers Doctors More Protection Against Malpractice Suits

NYT Health, 30 March 2015
Author: Robert Pear
“A little-noticed provision of a bill passed by the House of Representatives with overwhelming bipartisan support would provide doctors new protections against medical malpractice lawsuits. The bill, which requires the government to measure the quality of care that doctors provide and rate their performance on a scale of zero to 100, protects doctors by stipulating that the quality-of-care standards used in federal health programs — Medicare, Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act — cannot be used in malpractice cases.”
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California: Policy Adopted Against Execution Drugs

NYT Health, 30 March 2015
Author: The Associated Press
“The American Pharmacists Association on Monday adopted a policy that discourages members from providing death-penalty drugs. The guidelines could make it tough for death penalty states that have been looking at made-to-order execution drugs from compounding pharmacies to solve a shortage of execution drugs.”
Find briefing here.

End the detention of pregnant women at Yarl’s Wood immigration removal centre

The Guardian, 31 March 2015
Authors: Richard Fuller, Cathy Warwick, David Richmond, Emma Mlotshwa
“Stillbirth, miscarriage and acute psychosis are among the problems experienced by pregnant women held in Yarl’s Wood immigration removal centre. Many of the pregnant women that the charity Medical Justice has assisted there said they received inadequate healthcare. One said she complained about abdominal pains for three weeks before she was sent to A&E, where she miscarried with two guards in attendance. She attempted suicide and was admitted to a psychiatric ward.”
See letter here.

Journalists, district attorneys and researchers: why IRBs should get in the middle

BMC Medical Ethics 2015, 16:19
Authors: Anna H Chodos, Sei J Lee
“Federal regulations in the United States have shaped Institutional Review Boards (IRBs) to focus on protecting individual human subjects. Health services research studies focusing on healthcare institutions such as hospitals or clinics do not have individual human subjects. Since U.S. federal regulations are silent on what type of review, if any, these studies require, different IRBs may approach similar studies differently, resulting in undesirable variation in the review of studies focusing on healthcare institutions. Further, although these studies do not focus on individual human subjects, they may pose risks to participating institutions, as well as individuals who work at those institutions, if identifying information becomes public. Using two recent health services research studies conducted in the U.S. as examples, we discuss variations in the level of IRB oversight for studies focusing on institutions rather than individual human subjects. We highlight how lack of IRB guidance poses challenges for researchers who wish to both protect their subjects and work appropriately with the public, journalists or the legal system in the U.S. Competing interests include the public’s interest in transparency, the researcher’s interest in their science, and the research participants’ interests in confidentiality.”
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Yemen on brink of humanitarian crisis amid rising food shortages, says Unicef

The Guardian, 27 March 2015
Author: Sam Jones
“Yemen could suffer a “major humanitarian crisis” within months if the international community does not urgently step up efforts to help the disintegrating Gulf state feed and vaccinate its children, Unicef has warned.”
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Google teams up with health firm to develop AI surgical robots

The Guardian, 28 March 2015
Author: Samuel Gibbs
“Google has struck a deal with the healthcare company Johnson & Johnson to develop surgical robots that use artificial intelligence. Google’s life sciences division will work with Johnson & Johnson’s medical device company, Ethicon, to create a robotics-assisted surgical platform to help doctors in the operating theatre.”
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Meningitis B vaccine added to UK child immunisation scheme

The Guardian, 29 March 2015
Author: Press Association
“Government reaches deal with GlaxoSmithKline on price of Bexsero, which was recommended by vaccination advisers a year ago. All babies in the UK will soon have a potentially life-saving vaccine against meningitis B under a landmark deal, the health secretary has announced. Jeremy Hunt said Britain would become the first country in the world with a nationwide meningitis B vaccination programme, after the government reached an agreement with the drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline (GSK).”
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World Pollutionwatch: Bans that benefit millions

The Guardian, 30 March 2015
Author: Gary Fuller
“Starting with Berkeley, California in 1997 cities, regions and whole countries have banned indoor smoking in public places. Ireland introduced the first nationwide ban in 2004 and various types of restrictions are now in place in 92 countries from Albania to Zambia. This year’s planned indoor smoking ban in China will mean a huge increase in the global population covered.”
Find article here.