Policy and Ethics

Not only did Americans vote on members of Congress this week, but citizens of several states also voted on various science- and health-related policy issues. How did those turn out? On the upside, an anti-fracking law was defeated. On the downside, workplace vaping was banned and bogus medical marijuana laws passed.
The DEA, an arm of the Department of Justice, released a 184-page report claiming that prescription opioid analgesics is the drug class that's killing the most Americans. Huh? This sure seems strange. But a closer look suggests that the only thing strange is the manner in which that data is used in the report. The DEA spins and wins. Pain patients lose.
After years, countless hours and dollars spent you'd think doctors could readily share a patient's records. However, you would be wrong. The latest excuse: sharing patient data may be an anti-trust violation, since after all, patient data is valuable. But when did we lose ownership of our most personal of information?
Did you know if you had a cardiac arrest, the decision to give you a potentially life-saving medication or placebo – in the fleeting moment where seconds matter – might be made at random by those coordinating a study? A little-known FDA exemption allows for it.
Since everything in California needs a cancer warning label, we need to ask: Where are the bodies?
As the saying goes, "There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics." We know that's true because statisticians themselves just said so. A jaw-dropping study reveals that nearly 1 in 4 of them report being asked to remove or alter data to better support a hypothesis. That is called scientific fraud.
We asked three straightforward questions about the integrity of the organic certification process. Program officials refused to answer them. It seems clear that this agency is less of a regulatory body and more of a taxpayer-funded cheerleading squad. It should be eliminated.
Ethanol is bad science and bad economics, and combined that makes it bad energy policy.
Food labels serve one purpose, and one purpose only: To provide nutritional information to consumers. The process by which a food is produced is not relevant to its nutritional content or safety profile. Therefore, products made using animal cell culture techniques absolutely should not require special labeling.
A group of academics, bureaucrats and self-appointed addiction experts put their collective heads together and their collective noses where they didn't belong. They produced the 2016 Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain, an abysmal failure. Here are what's wrong with it and some ways to undo the damage.
Clinical guidelines are increasingly influential but they're written by experts in the field. Are guidelines a faithful compilation of evidence, or instead, just biased, perhaps self-serving, self-regulation? Dr. John Ioannidis, one of medicine's important voices, weighs in.
The Trump Administration believes that TV ads for pharmaceutical drugs should display the list price. This helps toward lowering the cost of healthcare. However, officials might want to consider banning direct-to-consumer advertising altogether.