Policy & Ethics

From vaping to alternative medicine, the UK's health authorities are much more willing to tell people the cold, hard truth than their American counterparts.
Environmentalists often oppose the very solutions that they once proposed.
Methamphetamine has made an unprecedented comeback, surpassing even fentanyl in drug overdose deaths in certain parts of the U.S. It hasn't shown up by accident; it's an offshoot of the misinformed anti-opioid movement. But it took two different government screwups to cause this latest mess: one that gave us pure, cheap meth and another that gave addicts the reason to use it. Nice going.
The major health systems are classified as non-profit organizations, exempting them from a variety of taxes, while obligating them to "give back to the community.” New research shows what "giving back" really means.
A niche publication, E&E News reports to a wide variety of institutional stakeholders on environmental and energy issues before Congress and federal regulatory agencies. Last week, in its report on the EPA's Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee, its editors felt it better to report half-truths.
Q: When are environmentalists (such as those with the Union of Concerned Scientists) opposed to efforts to conserve water and energy? A: When hotel housekeeping unions get mad. As we've long said about them, when it comes to saving the planet ideology trumps science and common sense.
Ontario may be cold, but the same cannot be said of its chief medical officer. Let's hear it for Dr. Nancy Whitmore, the head of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario. She has the ethics and the courage to make changes in policy that should have never been in place to begin with. Barbaric forced tapering will no longer be permitted, and doctors and patients will make treatment plans together. The U.S. should be looking north.
Researchers from the Yale School of Public Health published one of the dumbest papers we've ever seen. They claim that some areas in which fracking takes place (Texas only) have more sexually transmitted diseases. Embarrassingly funny and, yes, "fracking" stupid.
Bundling surgery and surgical fees into one payment for a so-called episode of care is the goal of CMS. It's meant to reduce costs. But what if physicians don't deliver all the expected services? Should they reimburse some of the money? The RAND corporation says yes -- and estimates the savings at nearly $10 billion annually.
The World Health Organization does a tremendous job advancing the cause of global public health. But two recent, major screw-ups show that the institution is far from perfect. In one instance, a group of UK scientists accused the WHO of spreading "blatant misinformation."
Public health advocates regularly promote bans on flavored liquids, or e-liquids, used in e-cigarettes, arguing that they prompt teenagers to take up vaping and ultimately “hook” them on nicotine. While this is a reasonable concern, the evidence shows that banning flavored e-liquids would discourage adult smokers from giving up cigarettes and do little to quell teen vaping, which is low in both the U.S. and U.K.
Innovation is built upon an ecosystem that takes decades to mature. Yet, China has already made substantial advances in computer science, chemistry, engineering, and robotics -- all of which pose a direct challenge to U.S. technological supremacy. However, the U.S. will remain dominant and largely unchallenged in biotech and medicine for the foreseeable future.