Policy & Ethics

Was Derek Chauvin's use of force against George Floyd justified? His attorney said yes, pointing to a controversial syndrome known as "excited delirium" to explain Floyd's frenzied behavior while in custody. Does this defense withstand scientific scrutiny? 10,000 steps: it's a magic threshold often used to pinpoint fitness, but there's little evidence behind this popular idea.
In last week’s “Red State/Blue State” square-off between the governors of Florida and California, CA's Gavin Newsom touted his state’s lower per-capita overdose death rate. It might have to do with how the different states compare on harm reduction.
The recent meeting between President Biden and China's President Xi Jinping delved into the U.S. fentanyl crisis, centering on the export of fentanyl chemical precursors from China to Mexico, where they are converted into fentanyl. However, there is an inherent challenge in restricting precursor chemicals. A minimally trained organic chemist can either make them or simply use a different, unrestricted chemical. Thus, any international agreement designed to minimize fentanyl by restricting precursors is likely to fail, defeated by organic chemistry.
An email from Dr. Kan Shao, a professor at Indiana University School of Public Health, states that EPA’s current version of Benchmark Dose Software modeling is “extremely misleading and not scientifically justified.” It is very unusual for a scientist who has been deeply involved with the EPA in developing risk assessment modeling to openly criticize the EPA. This requires a deeper dive into this issue.
Exactly 10 years ago -December 2, 2013 - my first-ever published opinion piece about the erosion of pain control appeared in The New York Post. It was titled "New painful casualties of the drug war" and was written three years before the CDC's formal declaration of war on pain patients. It is frightening to look back a decade and see how much of this has come true. Plus much worse. Here is the article from the Post opinion page.
Politicians fail to understand that "gain of function" research on microorganisms can enhance public health preparedness.
In this radio conversation, Lars Larson and I discuss his concerns about the testing and approval process for new drugs and medical procedures in the United States.
If you need further evidence that politicians don't understand the fentanyl crisis they helped to create, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) has you covered. Meanwhile, we already sell some body fluids in select circumstances; will the day come when we sell body parts to the highest bidder?
The "wellness" industry has birthed yet another scam: health coaching. Usually lacking any medical or scientific training, these coaches will charge you a king's ransom for useless – and arguably harmful – advice. Buyer beware. Meanwhile, the CDC says everyone six months and older needs COVID boosters. Here's what the data show.
I remember answering patients’ questions in the office (or on the phone later when the fog of what I had told them had dissipated) and there were other “concerns.” Today, more and more doctor-patient discourse is digital and comes at a cost, both financial and medical.
On November 11th, America honors and celebrates our veterans. November 11th was originally Armistice Day to commemorate the cease-fire of the Great War, World War I, that took place at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. I know many veterans personally. Lots of family and friends served. Most honorably left their military service unharmed. Some left the service with deep wounds and scars. And some did not make it back alive. On Veterans Day, we thank them all for their service.
The pandemic’s successful expansion of pharmacists’ scope of practice to include vaccinations has given some people the idea that pharmacists can fill other gaps in primary care, like prescribing medications for our greatest comorbidity, high blood pressure, or hypertension. A new, deeply flawed analysis of the economic benefits suggests savings of money and lives.