Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Probably for the better

Johnson & Johnson recently decided to cancel an upcoming clinical trial for its injectable antipsychotic, Invega Sustenna, citing a "reconsideration of priorities." Probably a smart move, considering the recalls that the company has done in the last few months for other products. Yikes! Check it out at the Wall Street Journal.

Walgreens purchases "drugstore.com"

To compete with CVS, Walgreens changes its business strategy.

Buying kidneys

Should patients be allowed to buy a kidney for transplantation?  The LA Times hosts a debate.

Maternity tourism

Official have shut down a house in San Gabriel, California that they say was home to “maternity tourists” -- well-to-do women from China who had paid tens of thousands of dollars to deliver their babies in the United States, so that the children would become automatic American citizens.  Read about it in the New York Times.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Ethicator vs Ethicist

The Ethicator explains why you should write your own recommendation letters. 

Monday, March 21, 2011

Newsflash: Being happy is good for your health

But not the kind of happy you'd necessarily think of immediately. It's eudaimonia that you need to help reduce your risk factors for diseases. Check it out at the WSJ.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Saturday, March 19, 2011

The ethics and dangers of treating children with height-boosting drugs

Alice Dreger, on human growth hormone for cosmetic purposes.  Read it here.

Friday, March 18, 2011

More on the Markingson case

This time by Naomi Freundlich on HealthBeat.  Read it here.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

A Guinea Pig Registry?

Do we need to register Phase I trial subjects?  Pharmalot asks the question, in response to a new JAMA article.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Ethicist says: write your own recommendation letters and have your professor sign them

Seriously.  Read it in the Times.

JAMA names a new editor

It's Dr. Howard Bauchner, 59, a professor of pediatrics and public health at Boston University.  Read about it here.

Should big PR firms that represent drug companies also run scientific societies’ media operations?

Cohn & Wolfe, one of the world’s largest premier PR and communications firms, is running the press office at the European Association for the Study of the Liver (EASL) conference that starts at the end of the month.  Read more here.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

InstyMeds on Steroids

Apparently, computerized prescription dispensers are all the rage. The hospital pharmacy at the University of California, San Francisco, has completely robotized its prescription dispensing system. According to a UCSF press release, "Once computers at the new pharmacy electronically receive medication orders from UCSF physicians and pharmacists, the robotics pick, package, and dispense individual doses of pills. Machines assemble doses onto a thin plastic ring that contains all the medications for a patient for a 12-hour period, which is bar-coded. This fall, nurses at UCSF Medical Center will begin to use barcode readers to scan the medication at patients’ bedsides, verifying it is the correct dosage for the patient." Watch the robot in action, here.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Sainfort and Jacko indicted

"Two University of Minnesota professors are facing charges for bilking another school out of thousands of dollars."  Watch the bizarre video here. 

The indictment is here.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011


InstyMeds, headquartered in Minneapolis, makes prescription drug vending machines.  Read about it in The Atlantic.

Monday, March 07, 2011

The Red Market

"Sometimes the market in body parts is exploitive: Desperate people are paid tiny sums for huge donations. Other times it is ghoulish: Pieces are stolen from the recently dead. And every so often, the resource grab is lethal—people are simply killed for their organs. Welcome to the red market."

See the going rates for body parts here.

Can I buy my PhD dissertation?

The Ethicator responds.

Expiring patents threaten pharma profits

Duff Wilson reports.

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Head Transplant

Head Transplant: The Truly Disturbing Truly Real Story from Jim Fields on Vimeo.

Talk to a psychiatrist? Not a chance.

Today's psychiatrists write prescriptions in 15-minute intervals and outsource therapy to others.  Read it in the Times.

Saturday, March 05, 2011

When Experiments Travel

"Even though bioethicists agree that studies causing that much harm to participants would be very unlikely today, they are nonetheless concerned with new ethical questions stemming from moving huge numbers of U.S.-sponsored clinical trials overseas to developing countries."  NPR reports.

The Patient Empowerment Network?

Have a look.

Friday, March 04, 2011

When medicine got it wrong

Exoskeleton: Medical consumerism backwards

The eLeg was developed as a way of making a healthy body better (HULC, below) but is now evolving to serve the needs of the disabled.

Thursday, March 03, 2011

"Vampire face-lifts"

Plastic surgeons are riding the Twilight wave to market cosmetic procedures. Check it out.

Do dying research subjects know what they've signed up for?

Why do dying cancer patients sign up for clinical trials designed only to test the toxicity of a drug?  The answer is not what you'd hope.  Read about it in the New York Times.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Why has the Office of Human Research Protection gone to sleep on the job?

Ever since Jerry Menikoff took the helm of OHRP, investigations of wrongdoing have slowed.  Last year the number of cases it investigated dropped to an all-time low.  What's the story?  Have a look here.

Operators are standing by

Send your moral questions to The Ethicator.

Facebook improves your mental health...unless you're this poor baby.

Cornell University researchers have conducted a study on Facebook's effects on mental health. They found it to have a positive impact, contrary to the Slate article posted in this blog last month. Not entirely convincing, but hey, I guess as long as your birth name isn't "Facebook," you'll probably be ok.