Let’s talk about the right to food

The BMJ Blog,10 January 2017
Authors: Jose Luis Vivero-Pol, Tomaso Ferrando
“Legal recognition of the right to food and nutrition can create the grounds for effective and systemic solutions for hunger and malnutrition. Recently, the media was abuzz with news of plans by the Scottish Equalities Secretary to legislate the right to food within Scottish law. This would be a step towards tackling food poverty in Scotland. This potential legislation will be historic, as Scotland will be the first country in the European Union (EU) to expressly recognize the right to food.”
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Novartis is under investigation for allegedly bribing thousands of Greek doctors

BMJ 2017; 356:j130
Author: Owen Dyer
“Greece’s financial police have raided the Athens headquarters of Novartis, and a team of agents from the US Federal Bureau of Investigation have flown in to study seized company records, as part of an expanding probe into claims that the drug company has bribed over 4000 Greek doctors to prescribe or support the reimbursement of its drugs.”
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Mitochondrial Donation — Clearing the Final Regulatory Hurdle in the United Kingdom

NEJM, 28 December 2016
Authors: Mary Herbert, Doug Turnbull
“No other IVF-based technique has undergone the intense scrutiny that has been applied to mitochondrial donation. This is, in part, because of the ethical and regulatory issues that are unique to this technique. In the United Kingdom, mitochondrial donation — which is both critical and central to this IVF-based technique — required a change in the law. Scientific progress in this area has also been a focus of the U.S. National Academy of Medicine at the request of the Food and Drug Administration.”
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France introduces opt-out policy on organ donation

The Guardian, 3 January 2017
Author: Kim Willsher
“France has reversed its policy on organ donations so that all people could become donors on their death unless they join an official register to opt out. The new law presumes consent for organs to be removed, even if it goes against the wishes of the family. Until 1 January, when the legislation took effect, unless the person who had died had previously expressed a clear wish for or against donation, doctors were required to consult relatives who, in almost a third of cases, refused.”
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Towards a European code of medical ethics. Ethical and legal issues

J Med Ethics 2017;43:41-46
Authors: Sara Patuzzo, Elisabetta Pulice
“The feasibility of a common European code of medical ethics is discussed, with consideration and evaluation of the difficulties such a project is going to face, from both the legal and ethical points of view. On the one hand, the analysis will underline the limits of a common European code of medical ethics as an instrument for harmonising national professional rules in the European context; on the other hand, we will highlight some of the potentials of this project, which could be increased and strengthened through a proper rulemaking process and through adequate and careful choice of content.”
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UK university launches inquiry into links to work of controversial surgeon

The Guardian, 12 December 2016
Author: Hannah Devlin
“It was the case of the superstar surgeon, the prestigious Swedish institute and the ill-fated windpipe transplants that escalated into allegations of misconduct, dismissal and a criminal investigation. Now, a leading British university has launched an inquiry into its own links with the endeavours of Paolo Macchiarini, the surgeon at the centre of the trachea operations following which six patients died.”
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Next of kin’s experiences of involvement during involuntary hospitalisation and coercion

BMC Medical Ethics 2016 17:76
Authors: Reidun Førde, Reidun Norvoll, Marit Helene Hem, Reidar Pedersen
“Norway has extensive and detailed legal requirements and guidelines concerning involvement of next of kin (NOK) during involuntary hospital treatment of seriously mentally ill patients. However, we have little knowledge about what happens in practice. This study explores NOK’s views and experiences of involvement during involuntary hospitalisation in Norway.”
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New birth injuries compensation scheme announced

BBC, 17 October 2016
Source: BBC
“Parents in England whose children are injured at birth may benefit from a new government compensation scheme. The voluntary scheme is intended to settle complaints more quickly and allow medical staff to speak openly about maternity care failings and learn from mistakes.”
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Questions hang over European patent for hepatitis C drug after ruling

BMJ 2016; 355: i5493
Author: Ned Stafford
“The medical activist group Doctors of the World (Médecins du Monde) is calling for European governments to campaign for the US biotechnology firm Gilead Sciences to lower the price off its effective but very expensive treatment for hepatitis C after the European Patent Office ruled that the current patent must be amended.”
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Mental capacity of those in immigration detention in the UK

Med Sci Law October 2016 vol. 56 no. 4 285-292
Authors: Hugh Grant-Peterkin, Hilary Pickles, Cornelius Katona
“Asylum seekers and migrants can be detained in immigration removal centres (IRCs) or, post sentence, in prison while the Home Office makes decisions on their immigration status and/or arrangements for their removal or deportation. Currently, there is no process for identifying detainees who lack the mental capacity to participate in decision making relating to their immigration situation. Mental illness and distress are common among detainees. There are often cultural and language barriers; there is no consistent system of advocates, and many detainees are without legal representation.”
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