Policy & Ethics

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.
Facebook plans to crack down on content that peddles fake health news and other snake oil. While this is a great idea in theory if done properly, FB's track record of policing the content of its social media platform is poor. Their officials should seek outside help. May we suggest the American Council on Science and Health?
Why do patients seek a second opinion? Even when making an "evidence-based" decision, our unconscious bias towards one option or another alters how we judge the evidence -- and how long we search.
It shouldn't really be a surprise when this California city, which doesn't have a clue about the importance of public health, implements a policy that will help kill people.
The Trump Administration recently issued two executive orders relating to biomedical science. The first involved the regulation of biotechnology products; the second involved transparency in healthcare costs. We believe both are a step in the right direction.
It's mildly amusing that ACSH is referred to as "industry-friendly." That term, which is applied to us by friend and foe alike, is based on a half-truth. And half-truths are the worst kind of "truths" because they're actually lies. Just ask the organic, dietary supplement, and alternative medicine industries if they think we're friendly.
The state of Oklahoma is smelling blood in the water -- and it's going after blood money. State Attorney General Mike Hunter has a very big "blood donor" in his sights: Johnson & Johnson. The expert witness for the state is (of course) Andrew Kolodny. Is Kolodny qualified? These 8 questions should be posed to him.
Good public health is our passion at ACSH. We want to promote it while simultaneously preserving individual liberty. That's been the goal since our founding in 1978. On rare occasions, however, a heavy-handed approach may be necessary. We believe that's the case for vaccines -- which should be mandatory -- because the right of anti-vaxxers to be sick ends where the public's right to health begins.
This is what the CDC is proposing because binge drinkers tend to abuse opioids. But that makes no sense. It would be like adding a special tax to automobiles because some people drive them at 100 mph.
For decades, our health care system has been tied to a fee-for-service model. This payment approach creates an incentive for providers to require patients to undergo additional tests that may not be necessary. We cannot afford to continue going down this road. Pfizer's Dr. Robert Popovian discusses an alternative — a return to a capitated payment model.
A new study suggests that teaching hospitals -- our centers of academic medical excellence -- are no more expensive to patients than your local community hospital. While we may quibble about the numbers, one thing is clear: the cost of hospitalization is only a little more transparent than the cost of medications. Do we see a pattern?
It's been a good month for us at ACSH. Cox Media correctly defined us in a story about glyphosate in cereal. And a media fact-checking group decided that we deserved a 'High' rating for a "clean fact check record." And the month's not even half over.