Policy & Ethics

Another “study” of the war on opioids for acute surgical pain. It turns out that the spouses of patients may be the ones filling those prescriptions. Oh my! Are these spouses diverting the opioids? Are physicians unethically prescribing them? How many are becoming addicted? The insanity of our drug laws.
Animal research’s benefits are clear – but public awareness of what it involves is not.
Medice, cura te ipsum. Physician, heal thyself. That is just what the CDC is beginning to do based on a recently published in-house structural review. Leave aside the shame and blame game of amnesty. What does the CDC believe it did wrong and could do better?
The Kaiser Family Foundation recently wrote a summary of what you actually get when you enroll in a Medicare Advantage (Part C) program.
Active immunity means your body’s immune system gets revved up and primed by previous infection or exposure to vaccine antigens, whether it’s the real thing, i.e., getting sick with COVID, or via exposure to a human-made varietal from a vaccine (mRNA or conventional). Yet, somehow there’s this hue and cry that getting the real thing just isn’t as good as getting jabbed. Is it true? 
Just as healthcare systems seek to maintain their tax-exempt status by providing “community services,” health insurers seek to dispense their largesse on the corporate term for those community services – the social determinants of health. A new study suggests that, like those not-for-profit, tax-exempt healthcare systems, the money flowing to social determinants is more for appearances. How surprising.
Today is Veteran's Day. Although the thoroughly misguided "War on Painkillers," has done more than enough to the American public veterans who are injured suffer even worse. Yet they are told to try "non-pharmacologic" methods before trying even Advil let alone Vicodin. This disgusting practice is hardly the way to honor our veterans.
Politically-driven vaccine resistance renders persuasion efforts all but futile in that segment of the population. A different, but still potent, obstacle is posed when trying to persuade those susceptible to conspiracy theories. What happens when the two tactics are deliberately and calculatedly used in tandem – facilitated by junk science? Might perpetuating this kind of compound disinformation count as treason if done by a public servant?
Last week Emily Oster, an economist and a popular author on the real facts of parenting, suggested that it was time for a COVID amnesty. There was a quick, demonstrative, and at times angry response from many sources. I have studied acknowledging, correcting, and atoning for medical mistakes, including my own, for decades. Here is what I am thinking.
The CDC's dreadful 2016 opioid prescribing guideline caused untold damage, both to pain patients and opioid addicts. Six years later we have a revised document. Is it any better? Dr. Jeffrey Singer argues no.
“… the financial relationship between these newly independent physicians and industry begin to develop in the first year after graduation from their training programs and continued to expand in the early years of independent physician practice.” Financial relationship? A new study suggests that “gifting” physicians begins early. Still, I believe the study casts more shade than light.
Hardly a day goes by when the "opioid crisis" doesn't make the news. But as you'll see, alcohol causes far more damage in terms of addiction, health problems, deaths, and economic impact yet is rarely mentioned. Why the discrepancy? It just doesn't add up.