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."
science and policy
Many public health officials have called for mandatory vaccines to prevent the spread of infectious diseases. The motivation for this policy is understandable, but forcing parents to immunize their kids emboldens the anti-vaccine movement. By incentivizing people to vaccinate and holding them legally accountable when they don't, we can preserve individual autonomy, maintain herd immunity and undermine the anti-vaccine movement.
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.
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.
If you're a scientist and public communicator, you are putting yourself in professional and personal danger. And as Kevin Folta's case shows, things are only getting worse.
Eating at Panda Express recently in Seattle, it was hard not to notice that after just a few bites some diners found their forks to be completely bent out of shape. A quick look at the handle revealed why: It was marked "compostable."
Vaccine resistance is one of the top 10 threats to global health. New York City is currently experiencing its worst outbreak of measles in decades, sickening scores of children in ultra-Orthodox Jewish neighborhoods. Prominent health organizations and advocacy groups have called on state legislatures to eliminate religious and philosophical exemptions.
The New York Times has done something that it very rarely does: It wrote an editorial in support of biotechnology. Unfortunately, the newspaper has a long history of spreading misinformation about GMOs and chemicals, which seriously undermines the important message in its pro-vaccine editorial.
The Oregon Democrat recently wrote a letter to HHS Secretary Alex Azar, claiming that his Pain Management Best Practices Inter-Agency Task Force, formed in 2016, was corrupted by big pharma money. The task force was charged with reforming the CDC's disastrous 2016 opioid guidelines. Sen. Wyden claims that two respected physicians in the group had conflicts of interest. Instead, perhaps it's time for the lawmaker to look in the mirror.
There aren't many things today that unite both sides of the political aisle, but leave it to some environmental activists to achieve the impossible. There's bipartisan opposition to a proposed Colorado law that would severely curtail fracking in the state.
Germany serves as a wonderful example of how to do everything – everything wrong, that is – when it comes to energy policy.
The online news arm of this journal s a solid source of information. However, it reprinted an article from E&E News that stated green energy is the way to go and the environment is full of scary chemicals. Associating itself with this outlet was a dubious decision, and one that may prove damaging to its reputation.