Federal Right-to-Try Legislation — Threatening the FDA’s Public Health Mission

NEJM, 10 January 2018
Authors: Steven Joffe, Holly Fernandez Lynch
“Though popular with the public and supported by politicians from both parties, the legislation has been widely criticized by policy experts. In isolation, its impact would probably be limited, since the bill was substantially hollowed out to secure the necessary votes. Nonetheless, the motivation behind the proposed legislation threatens to weaken the FDA’s ability to pursue its public health mission.”
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A libertarian case for mandatory vaccination

Journal of Medical Ethics 2018;44:37-43.
Author: J Brennan
“This paper argues that mandatory, government-enforced vaccination can be justified even within a libertarian political framework. If so, this implies that the case for mandatory vaccination is very strong indeed as it can be justified even within a framework that, at first glance, loads the philosophical dice against that conclusion. I argue that people who refuse vaccinations violate the ‘clean hands principle’, a (in this case, enforceable) moral principle that prohibits people from participating in the collective imposition of unjust harm or risk of harm.”
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Navigating individual and collective interests in medical ethics

Journal of Medical Ethics 2018;44:1-2.
Author: J Pugh
“In medical ethics, we are often concerned with questions that pertain predominantly to the treatment of a particular individual. However, in a number of cases it is crucial to broaden the scope of our moral inquiry beyond consideration of the individual alone, since the interests of the individual can come into conflict with the interests of the wider community.”
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The Ebola clinical trials: a precedent for research ethics in disasters

Journal of Medical Ethics 2018;44:3-8.
Author: P Calain
“The West African Ebola epidemic has set in motion a collective endeavour to conduct accelerated clinical trials, testing unproven but potentially lifesaving interventions in the course of a major public health crisis. This unprecedented effort was supported by the recommendations of an ad hoc ethics panel convened in August 2014 by the WHO. By considering why and on what conditions the exceptional circumstances of the Ebola epidemic justified the use of unproven interventions, the panel’s recommendations have challenged conventional thinking about therapeutic development and clinical research ethics.”
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Latest Report on Health Effects of Climate Change

JAMA. 2017; 318(23): 2287
Author: M J Friedrich
“The report notes that the delayed response to climate change over the last 25 years has put human lives in jeopardy. It also emphasizes that health professionals have a responsibility to communicate the health threats from climate change to the public and to policy makers and that progress in mitigating these threats is essential to human well-being.”
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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.”
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Drug Company Under Fire After Revealing Dengue Vaccine May Harm Some

NYT, 17 December 2017
Authors: Denise Grady, Katie Thomas
“The Philippines government has begun investigations into the rollout of the immunization program by French drugmaker Sanofi, which has come under fire for discounting early warnings that its vaccine could put some people at heightened risk of a severe form of the disease.”
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