Policy & Ethics

There are those who believe that Ph.D's are still useful. Others might agree -- but with this gigantic caveat: It's only useful to those who are 100% certain that a life at the research bench is what they want to do.
If the poor are really at risk because hospitals will be shut down due to lack of funding, the worst thing that the Empire State can do is add costs to health care. But that's exactly what Gov. Andrew Cuomo recently did with his budget proposal. 
Why would Canada spend $512 million on blood products from the United States when it has perfectly good sources of their own? The short answer is regulation of market forces, but there's more to it than that.
Seeking to contain runaway costs with more than a quarter of Kentucky residents on Medicaid, Gov. Matt Bevin is proposing that able-bodied adults be required to work or volunteer in order to receive benefits. His plan, the first of its kind among the 50 states, has attracted considerable criticism. Yet while it has its flaws, there's also a case to be made that it's worth considering.
The New York Times recently surveyed readers to ask them about its coverage of the national opioid epidemic. Lots of boxes to check and pre-fab questions to sift through. Instead, we used one sentence from a Times article to point out what's wrong. And the answer is ... plenty. 
Eugenics has been science’s toxic brand since the end of World War II. The point was driven home yet again recently when Toby Young, appointee to the UK’s newly established Office of Students, was denounced in the House of Commons for having written favorably of “progressive eugenics”. Young resigned from the post the following day amid complaints about a series of other tweets and comments made in the past.
Before conducting any clinical trial – which is a nice way of saying "human medical experiment" – doctors and scientists first have to demonstrate that there's sufficient biomedical evidence to justify doing it. But a new study suggests that more than half of clinical trials don't meet this essential standard.
The State of New York is proposing a change in the rules that determine what drugs Workers Comp patients may receive, and when. The new rules are nonsensical and harmful to patients as American Council friend, Dr. Aric Hausknecht, explains.
Open displays of bipartisanship are rare these days and, as such, should be applauded. Unfortunately, a recent example of bipartisanship promotes junk science and bogus health claims, using buzz words like "integrative" and "wellness" that are code for "alternative medicine."
President Eisenhower's concern about the growing "military-industrial complex," referenced in his 1961 farewell address, became part of the cultural lexicon. But less well known is Ike's second warning, about manipulation of academia by political interests, which would change the nature of the “free university, historically the fountainhead of free ideas and scientific discovery.”
It's time to turn the forces of political correctness against themselves. If society is going to be in the dubious business of banning words, then we ought to do that because they're factually incorrect – rather than politically incorrect. And there's no better place to start than with the abbreviation "GMO."
Scientists are generally regarded as ethical and honest – the polar opposite of politicians. But there's a disturbing trend taking place in the scientific community: retracted papers, often due to fraud. This one, which appeared in the journal Science, focuses on harm to fish from tiny plastic particles. It is a doozy.