Bioethics.com

Subscribe to Bioethics.com feed
Your global information source on bioethics news, issues, & events
Updated: 2 hours 45 min ago

Planned Parenthood and Others Respond to Accusations That They Mistreated Pregnant Employees

December 26, 2018

(CNN) – Planned Parenthood and other organizations that serve or cater to women are defending themselves against allegations of various forms of discrimination against pregnant employees. The New York Times reported Thursday that women at four organizations made allegations of discriminatory practices, including hiring decisions being made based on pregnancy, and employers pressuring staff to return early from maternity leave.

Yemen’s Dirty War

December 26, 2018

(Associated Press) – Four years into Yemen’s civil war, and the results are disastrous: Yemen is starving. As the world’s worst humanitarian crisis unfolds, a team of AP journalists explores the military and political forces that have kept an entire nation hostage to violence.

U.S. Body Says Gene Therapy May Be More Cost Effective for Spinal Muscular Atrophy

December 26, 2018

(Reuters) – Biogen Inc’s Spinraza treatment for spinal muscular atrophy and Swiss drugmaker Novartis AG’s experimental gene therapy are both expensive, but the gene therapy could be more cost effective once more is known about its U.S. price and long-term success rates, a preliminary report from an independent U.S. nonprofit organization said on Thursday.

Federal Trade Commission Acts for First Time Against Stem Cell Clinics

December 26, 2018

(Pew Charitable Trusts) – The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recently announced a settlement with a physician in California to resolve charges that the two clinics he controlled engaged in deceptive advertising to promote  unproven stem cell-based therapies. This case represents the first enforcement action by the FTC—which protects consumers from false and misleading advertisements—to stop the promotion of stem cell treatments that have not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Veterinarians Far More Likely to Kill Themselves

December 26, 2018

(New York Post) – Veterinarians are far more likely to kill themselves than people with most other jobs, according to a report published Thursday. Female vets in the United States commit suicide 3.5 times more often than the general public, while male vets take their own lives 2.1 times as frequently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in the study. Vets tend to suffer from depression because they’re burdened by sky-high student loans on par with physicians, according to the report, which examined data from 11,620 deceased veterinarians between 1979 and 2015.

Physician-Assisted Suicide: The AMA’s Latest Quandary

December 26, 2018

(Med Page Today) – The American Medical Association, and the entire profession of medicine in the U.S., stand at a crucial ethical crossroads. For two years the AMA has been considering the question of physician-assisted suicide (PAS): shall physician assistance with patient suicide now be considered permissible, or shall physicians hold fast to the ethic that a physician’s duty is to “to cure sometimes, to relieve often, and to comfort always,” but never to kill?

Anonymous Patient Data May Not Be as Private as Previously Thought

December 21, 2018

(Reuters) – For years, researchers have been studying medical conditions using huge swaths of patient data with identifying information removed to protect people’s privacy. But a new study suggests hackers may be able to match “de-identified” health information to patient identities. In a test case described in JAMA Network Open, researchers used artificial intelligence to link health data with a medical record number.

Massachusetts Stroke Patient Receives ‘Outrageous’ $474,725 Medical Flight Bill

December 21, 2018

(Kaiser Health News) – In a study last year, Consumer Reports detailed some of the reasons excessively high air ambulance bills have become more common. Use of air ambulances is rising as more rural hospitals close, baby boomers age and the use of telemedicine increases. “The industry has really grown by leaps and bounds over the last 15 years and prices have doubled or tripled,” Bell said. “Most of the operators of air ambulances now are for-profit, Wall Street-type corporations reporting very large profits to investors.”

Planned Parenthood Is Facing Criticism for Its Treatment of Pregnant Workers

December 21, 2018

(Vox) – Planned Parenthood provides reproductive health care to millions of Americans every year, including helping many patients have healthy pregnancies. But multiple employees at the nonprofit say that when they were pregnant or had just given birth, they faced workplace discrimination, including bosses who ignored their medical needs, as Natalie Kitroeff and Jessica Silver-Greenberg of the New York Times reported on Thursday. Most Planned Parenthood health centers do not provide paid parental leave for employees, forcing one employee to turn to crowdfunding to pay her baby’s medical bills.

Signs of Progress and Challenges as More Patients Survive Cancer

December 21, 2018

(Reuters) – As a growing number of people live decades after a cancer diagnosis, doctors and scientists are developing treatment guidelines for survivors. But a U.S. report suggests more work is needed to improve the consistency and quality of survivorship care. It’s been more than a decade since the Institute of Medicine (IOM) released its seminal 2006 report on adult cancer survivors. The report galvanized the cancer care community, calling for a shift in thinking to focus not just on treating tumors but also on minimizing lifelong medical problems that can be caused by malignancies or by surgery, medication, and radiation.

The Man Who Smelled Like Rancid Creamed Corn to Usher in a New Scientific Era

December 21, 2018

(The Atlantic) –  A gene-editing procedure related to HIV rocked the fields of science and medicine last month, when the Chinese researcher He Jiankui made the explosive claim that he had manipulated the genomes of twin babies who do not carry the virus in an attempt to make them resistant to it, a covert and reckless move that was widely condemned by the scientific establishment. But adult HIV patients have voluntarily participated in scientifically condoned experiments that have paved the way for further gene-editing work on, for instance, cancer and blindness.

Infections Put 12 People in Hospitals after They Received Unapproved Stem Cell Products

December 21, 2018

(CNN) – Twelve people in three states developed infections and were hospitalized after they got infusions or injections of stem cell products derived from umbilical cord blood that were contaminated with bacteria, according to a report published Thursday by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The patients in Arizona, Florida and Texas received stem cell products processed by Genetech Inc. and distributed by Liveyon LLC, the report says, adding that the products are not FDA-approved or lawfully marketed.

Why the U.S. Remains the World’s Most Expensive Market for ‘Biologic’ Drugs

December 20, 2018

(Kaiser Health News) – Europeans have found the secret to making some of the world’s costliest medicines much more affordable, as much as 80 percent cheaper than in the U.S. Governments in Europe have compelled drugmakers to bend on prices and have thrown open the market for so-called biosimilars, which are cheaper copies of biologic drugs made from living organisms. The brand-name products — ranging from Humira for rheumatoid arthritis to Avastin for cancer — are high-priced drugs that account for 40 percent of U.S. pharmaceutical sales.

The Human Toll of the Medical Industry’s Uncharitable Giving

December 20, 2018

(Undark) – Charity is generally described as the act of giving money, goods, or time to the unfortunate. Two players are involved: the giver, who gives without expected payment in return, and the receiver, who is in need. Increasingly, philanthropy in the medical industry is failing on both counts. Givers don’t just hope for a return on investment, they demand it; if a philanthropic venture isn’t projected to generate a profit, it is abandoned. And the recipients of corporate largesse are often doctors and hospitals, not patients. Indeed, recent history tells us that when a corporation does take on a philanthropic project, not only does their largesse rarely improve our collective public health; it often leaves us worse off.

Yemen Crisis Isn’t Over: War-Torn Nation Remains on the Precipice of a Large-Scale Famine

December 20, 2018

(Salon) – The idea of Yemen as a “terrible tragedy” was expanded upon for the members of the Security Council by Mark Lowcock, who runs humanitarian affairs for the United Nations. A new study shows the “terrible tragedy” in its full scale: Sixty-seven percent of Yemen’s population needs “urgent action to save lives and livelihoods.” That means that 20 million Yemenis are vulnerable to death. A quarter of a million of these Yemenis are “on the brink of starvation.” The study points out that “armed conflict remains the main driver of food insecurity in Yemen.” That’s an obvious point, but it needs to be made. The war on Yemen has to end to prevent the near-death of the Yemeni people.

Heroin Addiction Explained: How Opioids Hijack the Brain

December 20, 2018

(New York Times) – Getting hooked is nobody’s plan. Some turn to heroin because prescription painkillers are tough to get. Fentanyl, which is 50 times more potent than heroin, has snaked its way into other drugs like cocaine, Xanax and MDMA, widening the epidemic. To understand what goes through the minds and bodies of opioid users, The New York Times spent months interviewing users, family members and addiction experts. Using their insights, we created a visual representation of how the strong lure of these powerful drugs can hijack the brain.

Female Genital Mutilation Blamed for Death of 10-Year-Old Girl in Sierra Leone

December 20, 2018

(CNN) – A 10-year-old girl has died from complications that arose after undergoing female genital mutilation in Sierra Leone, authorities said. Marie Kamara, a primary school student in Matetie village, died during an initiation into a secret women’s society that involves the practice of female genital mutilation, also known as FGM, police said.

Congo: Ebola Outbreak ‘Certainly’ to Last 3-4 Months More

December 20, 2018

(ABC News) – The second-deadliest Ebola outbreak in history is “certainly” expected to continue for another three or four months, Congo’s health minister said Thursday. In an interview with The Associated Press, Health Minister Oly Ilunga also sought to calm concerns days ahead of a presidential election in which millions of people will use touch-screen voting machines. The deadly Ebola virus is spread via infected bodily fluids, so some worry they may pick it up from the screens.

His Body Has Been Viewed by Millions, But We Don’t Even Know His Name

December 20, 2018

(Sydney Morning Herald) – Split through the middle, he is one of the poster boys of the Real Bodies exhibition. Almost perfectly preserved via plastination, millions of visitors to the blockbuster anatomy show have been able to stare into his skull cavity and marvel at his sinewy body, stripped of its skin and cut in half. But who was this man? And would he have consented to his remains being displayed in this way? Surprisingly, we do not know the answers to these questions.

The Dream of Augmented Humans Endures, Despite Skepticism

December 20, 2018

(The Japan Times) – Brain implants, longer lives, genetically modified humans: For the prophets of “transhumanism” — the scientifically assisted evolution of humans beyond our current limitations — it is just a matter of time. But many scientists insist that some problems are not so easily solved. Sooner or later, they argue, the movement that crystallized in the can-do culture of 1980s California will hit the brick wall of the scientifically impossible.

Pages