The Cure for Gilead

Huffington Post, 3 August 2015
Author: Jeffrey Sachs
“Gilead has the cure for Hepatitis C (HCV) known as Sofosbuvir, which is taken alone or in combination with other drugs. Now we need a cure for Gilead. By pressing the company to make Sofosbuvir-based therapies accessible to all who need them, the Hepatitis C epidemic in America and worldwide can be brought to an end. Gilead should be held responsible, morally and legally, for all of the HCV-related illnesses and deaths that occur as the result of their unacceptable pricing policies.”
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Unused Embryos Pose Difficult Issue: What to Do With Them

NYT, 17 June 2015
Author: Tamar Lewin
“In storage facilities across the nation, hundreds of thousands of frozen embryos — perhaps a million — are preserved in silver tanks of liquid nitrogen. Some are in storage for cancer patients trying to preserve their chance to have a family after chemotherapy destroys their fertility. But most are leftovers from the booming assisted reproduction industry. And increasingly families, clinics and the courts are facing difficult choices on what to do with them.”
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Traditional Virtues Trump Ethics Codes

Huffington Post, 22 October 2014
Author: Brad Reid
“It is too easy to equate ethics codes with law so that if a contemplated action is not contrary to the code or law, it is morally acceptable. If it is legal, then it is morally acceptable.this position is too easy and requires too little thought.”
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New TPPA leak shows medicines could become unaffordable

Malay Mail, 18 October 2014
“A new leak of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) chapter on intellectual property shows a push for patent protection to be expanded and lengthened, possibly making medicines unaffordable for average Malaysians”
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No appeal against Beth Warren’s High Court victory

Citizen, AP, March 13, 2014

“Beth Warren’s victory in the High Court will stand after the HFEA announced it would not be appealing against the decision.  Mrs. Warren, from Newport Pagnell, had successfully challenged a storage time limit imposed by the UK fertility regulator which meant she had little over a year left to conceive using her husband’s sperm.  However, despite being granted permission to appeal the decision, the HFEA – Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority – has opted not to follow it up after ‘considering not just the legal issues, but also the moral ones.  Sally Cheshire, interim chairman of the HFEA, said: “We know that the extra few days of uncertainty have been stressful for Mrs. Warren, but we have tried to minimise that stress by making a decision as quickly as possible.”

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Organs as inheritable property?

J Med Ethics Published online 30 August 2013

Authors: Teck Chuan Voo, Soren Holm

“…This paper argues that organs should be inheritable if they were to be socially and legally recognised as tradable property. It also seeks to contribute to the idea of organs as inheritable property by providing a defence of a default position of the family of a dead person as the inheritors of transplantable organs. In the course of discussion, various succession rules for organs—which might exclude the right to destroy and waste transplantable organs—will be suggested. Lastly, we consider some objections to organs as inheritable. Our intention in this paper is to provoke further thought on whether ownership of one’s organs should be assimilated to property ownership…”

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Lawsuits filed over malfunction at sperm bank

Chicago Tribune, By Michelle Manchir, August 20, 2013

“Some men lost the chance to be biological fathers last year after their sperm samples were destroyed when a tank keeping them frozen at Northwestern Memorial Hospital failed, an attorney who filed lawsuits against the hospital said Tuesday.  The 40 lawsuits were filed Tuesday in Cook County Circuit Court on behalf of men whose illnesses or treatments could eventually cause infertility. They target the hospital and Northwestern Medical Faculty Foundation, technicians at which operated the tank, officials said.”

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A Family Consents to a Medical Gift, 62 Years Later

The New York Times, By Carl Zimmer, August 7, 2013

“Henrietta Lacks was only 31 when she died of cervical cancer in 1951 in a Baltimore hospital. Not long before her death, doctors removed some of her tumor cells. They later discovered that the cells could thrive in a lab, a feat no human cells had achieved before.   Soon the cells — nicknamed HeLa cells — were being shipped from Baltimore around the world. In the 62 years since — twice as long as Lacks’s own brief life — her cells have been the subject of more than 74,000 studies, many of which have yielded profound insights into cell biology, vaccines, in vitro fertilization and cancer. In the journal Nature on Wednesday, a team of scientists from the University of Washington described the HeLa genome, which they recently sequenced. The project is a tour-de-force of DNA analysis, befitting the best-studied human cells in the world.  But the research is exceptional for another reason. Henrietta Lacks, who was poor, black and uneducated, never consented to her cells’ being studied. For 62 years, her family has been left out of the decision-making about that research. Now, over the past four months, the National Institutes of Health has come to an agreement with the Lacks family to grant them control over how Henrietta Lacks’s genome is used.”

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The trespasses of property law

J Med Ethics doi:10.1136/medethics-2013-101439 Published online 11 July 2013

Author: Jesse Wall

“Courts have recently employed property law to address disputes where semen stored on behalf of patients undergoing chemotherapy is damaged, and where widows claim possession of their deceased partners’ semen. The purpose of this article is to suggest that these recent cases represent an inappropriate application of property law. My concern is that property law ought to govern entitlements in things where the entitlements are contingent to the entitlement holder. Moreover, this conceptual concern has structural or doctrinal consequences in terms of the law’s approach to remedying interference with rights in bodily material and the transferability of rights in bodily material…”

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