Policy & Ethics

The University of California-San Francisco has become a strange place. While the university certainly hosts faculty doing world-class research, simultaneously it has become the academic home for conspiracy theorists, including anti-vaxxers and anti-biotech activists.
The protection of intellectual property is vital to innovation. If anyone can just take something you created -- be it a song or a drug -- without proper compensation, there would be little reason to develop anything new. That, however, is predicated upon innovators playing fairly. In other words, they cannot seek patent protection for things that are not patentable. Yet, some pharmaceutical companies are doing just that.
Consolidation in healthcare is not limited to hospitals or pharmacies. Medical practices are consolidating, too. But more worrisome is the arrival of private equity. They are predators hollowing out companies (like Toys R Us, leaving the shell to be cleaned up by others). Is that what we want for medical practices?
Do we act one way at work and another at home? Are ethics part of our personality or more situational? A new study offers some insight, at least based on our cheatin' heart.
Dr. Jeffrey Singer (pictured) is one of the brave physicians on the front line in the battle against anti-opioid madness. He graciously gave us permission to reprint his recent Cato Institute blog post. It speaks directly to the role of government in determining who gets what pain medicine, and how much. Dr. Singer addresses just this as he explains why Sen. Robert Portman (R-OH) went way off the deep end, proposing a national three-day limit on opioid prescriptions following surgery -- evidence be damned.
A new study tells us that since Florida passed a law restricting post-surgical opioid prescriptions, there are fewer post-surgical opioid prescriptions being written. This and other brilliance. Ripe for the picking.
It's not often that a politician is openly pro-GMO, particularly in Europe. But the new Prime Minister of the United Kingdom just praised genetic modification in his first speech to Parliament.
Opioid hysteria is not confined to the U.S. or Canada. A British group writing for the BBC manages to get all the usual stuff -- and then some -- wrong. So here's a deal: We keep baseball, they keep cricket, and we both stop writing idiotic, misleading papers on the phony "opioid crisis." Jolly good idea if you ask us!
U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams celebrated Independence Day by trumpeting a study which concluded that Tylenol worked as well as morphine for controlling the pain from a broken rib. But the study was complete nonsense. ACSH caught him and now he's backpedaling like the woman in the bicycle scene from The Wizard of Oz (played backward of course).
ACSH friend Dr. Aric Hausknecht takes issue with the July 4th advice tweeted by Surgeon General Jerome Adams, which recommended the use of IV Tylenol for post-operative pain. The New York neurologist and pain management physician gave us exclusive permission to print his response to Dr. Adams.
Despite a claim made by Congresswoman Susie Lee, Yucca Mountain is not a threat to Nevadans' health. Grandstanding and fearmongering by politicians is why America has an energy policy that's completely backward.
Since our founding in 1978, ACSH has stood for evidence-based science and health in combination with free markets and individual liberty. We feel that an educated public should be free to make its own decisions without a "nanny state" micromanaging our behavior. Occasionally, however, our guiding principles encounter intractable problems. Today, two of the biggest such problems involve public health.