A Federal Ban on Making Lethal Viruses Is Lifted

NYT, 19 December 2017
Author: Donald G McNeil Jr
“Federal officials on Tuesday ended a moratorium imposed three years ago on funding research that alters germs to make them more lethal. Such work can now proceed, said Dr. Francis S. Collins, the head of the National Institutes of Health, but only if a scientific panel decides that the benefits justify the risks.”
Find article here.

Too Many Older Patients Get Cancer Screenings

NYT, 19 December 2017
Author: Liz Szabo
“A growing chorus of geriatricians, cancer specialists and health system analysts say that for the best quality of life, she’d be better off skipping the screening. Such testing in the nation’s oldest patients is highly unlikely to detect lethal disease. It is also hugely expensive and more likely to harm than help, since any follow-up testing and treatment is often invasive.”
Find article here.

Court orders Trump administration to give immigrant teens abortion access

Reuters, 19 December 2017
Author: Sarah N Lynch
“A U.S. District Court judge ruled on Monday that President Donald Trump’s administration must allow access to abortion for two pregnant teenagers who are in the country illegally, escalating a high-profile legal fight.”
Find article here.

Italy to Allow Living Wills and the Refusal of End-of-Life Care

NYT, 14 December 2017
Author: Elisabetta Povoledo
“Italian lawmakers passed a law on Thursday allowing adults to decide, in concordance with their doctors, their end-of-life medical care, including the terms under which they can refuse treatment. The law permits Italians to write living wills and refuse medical treatment, artificial nutrition and hydration.”
Find article here.

We must follow California’s example and repeal archaic HIV laws

The BMJ Opinion, 15 December 2017
Author: Sofia Gruskin
“Recently, my home state of California made national headlines when it repealed an HIV criminalisation law and reduced penalties for exposing other people to the virus. It was a landmark decision grounded in science and human rights that will go into effect next month.”
Find article here.

Amos v Western NSW Local Health District; Arnold v Western NSW Local Health District [2017] NSWCATAD 359

Decision date: 6 December 2017
ADMINISTRATIVE LAW – Government information – whether disclosure could reasonably be expected to prejudice the supply of confidential information that facilitates effective exercise of agency functions – workplace investigation – human resources and patient safety functions – whether disclosure could reasonably be expected to prejudice effective exercise of agency functions – whether disclosure could reasonably be expected to disclose information provided in confidence – balancing of public interests. Personal information – whether disclosure would reveal an individual’s personal information or contravene an Information Privacy Principle – whether information already revealed – balancing of public interests.
Find decision here.

DOJ Stepping Up Prosecutions Of Medical Providers Who Abuse Prescribing Authority

NPR interview, 11 December 2017
Host: Robert Siegel
“It’s believed that 80 percent of people addicted to heroin today started with prescription painkillers. The over-prescription of opioids in the U.S. has been well documented. NPR’s Robert Siegel speaks with U.S. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein about how the Department of Justice is ramping up prosecutions of medical providers who abuse their prescribing authority when it comes to opioids.”
Find transcript here.