Ethical issues in dialysis therapy

The Lancet, Volume 389, No. 10081, p1851–1856, 2017
Authors: Vivekanand Jha, Dominique E Martin et al
“Treatment for end-stage kidney disease is a major economic challenge and a public health concern worldwide. Renal-replacement therapy poses several practical and ethical dilemmas of global relevance for patients, clinicians, and policy makers. These include how to: promote patients’ best interests; increase access to dialysis while maintaining procedural and distributive justice; minimise the influence of financial incentives and competing interests; ensure quality of care in service delivery and access to non-dialytic supportive care when needed; minimise the financial burden on patients and health-care system; and protect the interests of vulnerable groups during crisis situations. These issues have received comparatively little attention, and there is scant ethical analysis and guidance available to decision makers.”
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‘The system here is broken’: Secret recording reveals failures of offshore detention regime

SMH, 15 May 2017
Author: Michael Koziol
“Two refugees under Australia’s care in Nauru are desperately seeking medical evacuations to Australia to escape a health regime that a government-contracted doctor on the island has admitted is “broken”.”
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Illinois lawmakers delay bill to expand abortion as veto looms

Reuters, 11 May 2017
Author: Timothy Mclaughlin
“Democratic lawmakers in Illinois on Thursday said they have placed on hold a bill that expands state-funded coverage of abortions for low-income residents and state employees but faces a likely veto from the state’s Republican governor. The bill also aims to keep abortions legal in Illinois. The Illinois’ Medicaid program covers abortions in cases of rape, incest and when a mother’s life or health is threatened. The expansion would enable poor women to obtain elective abortions. Also, the legislation would allow state employees to have the procedures covered under state health insurance.”
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Abortion pill group’s Facebook page deleted over promoting ‘drug use’

The Guardian, 12 May 2017
Author: Julia Carrie Wong
“Facebook has censored the page of an organization that helps women obtain abortion pills, citing its policy against the “promotion or encouragement of drug use”. Women on Web, which is based in Amsterdam, helps connect women with doctors who can provide abortion pills if they live in countries where abortion access is restricted. Facebook’s has faced particular difficulty enforcing its rules for “regulated goods” – prescription drugs, marijuana, firearms, and ammunition.”
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New drugs on the PBS: what they do and why we need them

The Conversation, 4 May 2017
Author: Nial Wheate
“This week, the government announced the latest additions, amendments, and deletions from the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS): the program through which essential medicines are subsidised for Australian patients. Listing on the PBS is different to a drug being approved for sale by Australia’s drug regulator. Once approved by the TGA, it is available to patients and hospitals at the full price. It only becomes subsidised if later listed on the PBS. Some of the notable additions to the list include drugs to treat eye infections, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), cystic fibrosis, multiple sclerosis, cancer, and idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis.”
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Life Expectancy Goes Up for Black Americans

WebMD, 2 May 2017
Author: Steven Reinberg
“Black Americans are living longer, but they still aren’t living as long as whites are, federal health officials reported Tuesday. While the overall death rate among black people dropped 25 percent between 1999 and 2015, the average life expectancy among black Americans still lags behind whites by almost four years. The gap in early death rates between blacks and whites is closing due to improved health of the black population overall.”
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Louisiana proposes tapping a century-old patent law to cut hepatitis C drug prices

Washington Post, 2 May 2017
Authors: Sarah Jane, Tribble Kaiser
“Continuing public concerns over high-priced hepatitis C drugs are taking a new twist as Louisiana’s top health official proposes using an obscure federal patent law to get the medicines at a much lower cost. If successful, other states could reap the benefits. Covering treatment for the 35,000 uninsured and Medicaid-dependent residents with hepatitis C would cost the state $764 million given current drug costs.”
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Record number of GP closures force 265,000 to find new doctors

The Guardian, 7 April 2017
Author: Sarah Marsh
“A record number of GP practices closed last year, forcing thousands of patients to find a new surgery. NHS England data showed nearly a hundred practices closed in 2016, a 114% increase in GP closures compared with figures from 2014. Of the 92 practices that shut, 58 did so completely, while 34 merged with other local surgeries in order to pool resources. The new data has renewed fears that family doctors are not coping with increased demand and need an urgent cash injection to survive.”
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California Doctors Again Press For More Money To Treat Poor Patients

KHN, 30 March 2017
Author: Barbara Feder Ostrov
“California’s doctors and dentists have renewed their push for more money to treat Medicaid patients now that the state has been spared the drastic cuts proposed under the failed GOP health care bill. Some health advocates say they have other priorities for improving the low-income health program, which serves some 14 million residents, or about a third of the state’s population.”
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“I’m Willing To Try Anything”: Compassionate Use Access To Experimental Drugs And The Misguided Mission Of Right-To-Try Laws

Health Affairs Blog, 27 March 2017
Authors: Amy Scharf, Elizabeth Dzeng
“Beneath its seemingly altruistic and uncontroversial veneer, the Compassionate Use program has been a lightning rod for intense legal, legislative, and public policy controversies, many of which have been framed as ‘libertarian vs. regulatory’ battles between those who wish to allow patients freer, even unrestricted, access to experimental drugs (often by changing or limiting the role of the FDA), and those who prefer a more measured, rigorous approach to dispensing unproven and potentially dangerous therapies.”
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