Policy & Ethics

Although the 2022 revision of the 2016 CDC Opioid Prescribing Advice is an improvement over the original document, it still refers to Morphine Milligram Equivalents (MME) as a guide to physicians. Unfortunately, this number does not accurately reflect the relative strength of opioid painkillers. Dr. Jeff Singer and I explain why in a new op-ed in the NY Daily News.
A new paper from Johns Hopkins suggests that lockdowns had minimal impact on our health based on a meta-analysis of the effects of lockdowns on COVID-19. With blood in the water, partisan lines were quickly drawn. “Fox News has charged that there's been a ‘full-on media blackout,’" and the medical media, while not quite as hyperbolic, were dismissive because it was a pre-print, by economists, using a poor sample of studies. One more important note, the paper is 64 pages long, so who among all those reporters and experts actually read the paper? I did. [1]
The CDC's 2022 revisions of the deeply flawed 2016 Prescribing Advice contains some welcome changes that should reduce the needless suffering of pain patients. Unfortunately, the new document does not go far enough. My comments will be officially submitted to the CDC during the public comment period.
To discuss the Draft CASAC Report on EPA’s Draft Supplement to the 2019 Integrated Science Assessment (ISA) for PM and the Draft CASAC Report on EPA’s Draft PM Policy Assessment (PA).
Kansas, like several other states, is shielding healthcare providers from sanctions for the off-label prescription of Ivermectin and Hydroxychloroquine. That said, its State Senate – and one senator, in particular – is living in “crazy town.” Time for us to take a deeper dive into so-called fly-over country.
As of January 25, 2022, some 40% of Americans [1] have not been fully vaccinated. [2] This, notwithstanding valiant efforts for over a year at persuading vaccine uptake.  The impacts are now apparent. The US death toll [3] is averaging 2500 cases a day – and rising, at least for now.  Because of widespread vaccine resistance, the President has attempted to mandate vaccines. In addition to those refusing vaccines, we now have a separate group of individuals who oppose vaccine mandates.  
In recent years, the “Death with Dignity” [1] movements have been racking up victories. Thirty years ago, only Switzerland allowed assisted deaths. Today, no less than 12 countries and 10 states plus the District of Columbia sanction (or decriminalize) euthanasia (where the doctor administers a lethal drug) and Medical Assistance In Dying (MAID), when the patient does the deed.
The CDC 2016 Opioid Prescribing Advice, which has caused so much hardship to so many pain patients, has been tossed out and replaced by a revised document. Is it better? Sure looks that way.
The Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS) rule has been a policy and regulatory ping-pong match for over 20 years. Obscured in the regulatory back and forth is a tremendous environmental success story. Yet the regulatory ping-pong match continues. The latest round is that the current Administration’s EPA reaffirmed an Obama Administration legal finding that regulating power plants for mercury is appropriate and necessary.   
Dozens of studies examining the effects of vaccine mandates have been published over the last year. A pre-print review of this literature has found that requiring COVID-19 vaccination may carry significant costs, including a deepening distrust of public health authorities and greater vaccine hesitancy.
Drs. Robert Popovian (a member of the Scientific Advisory Board at ACSH) and Radife Kiral, both at Pfizer, examine the response of our healthcare system to the COVID pandemic. In some areas we did well; in others not so well. What can we do better in the future?
Consider that committing a crime is a choice involving tradeoffs; the initial one is whether criminal action will be more lucrative than working. Of course, those lucrative moments are short-term gains, and they come with the risk of being caught and suffering long-term, or latter-term, losses. Can an individual criminal’s preferences – for short-term gains (impatience) and risk adversity (avoiding latter-term losses) – predict crime? A study of young Danish man suggests a link.