Public Policy

Prescribing Caution with Precautionary Principle

We exercise reasonable precaution with new products and technology, right? Sure we do! But the Precautionary Principle, as it’s most often invoked, would bring scientific and industrial progress to a grinding halt. Continue reading

Not All Expensive Drugs Are Equal

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There are expensive drugs and there are expensive drugs. But they can be very different. Two new antibody drugs that drastically lower LDL cholesterol have just hit the market. But they cost about $1,000 per month—for life. Hepatitis C drugs have been targeted as too expensive, but this is worse. Continue reading

Germany Rightly Skewered for GMO Nonsense; Kudos for WSJ

German green zealots have taken over the asylum, mandating a ban on GMOs, thanks to an EU dictum allowing each nation to make that decision independent of the overall EU policy. A Wall Street Journal editorial assesses the situation tersely, but accurately: Germany vs. Science. Continue reading

Rating Doctors Like PCs: Bad Idea Needing a Reboot

A new trend among health care systems is posting patient evaluations of staff physicians, or “doctor report cards.” This is a bad idea, as professional qualities of care, knowledge and compassion (much less outcomes) are not amenable to Yelp-like reviews as if doctors were personal computers on sale. Continue reading

Freeing Up Money For Science, Without Funding Waste

Congress has decided to boost funding for the National Institutes of Health by $9.3 billion over five years, and that is welcome news to researchers. But there are two ways we could have prevented life sciences researchers from feeling like they were being disrespected by the current White House administration.
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FDA adding confusion with “added sugars” label

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That is, the body metabolizes sugar from colas the same way it does sugar from orange juice (yes, even organic orange juice). So why add a line to the ‘Nutrition Facts’ label that specifically cites the amount of added sugars? Continue reading

Clean Energy Is A Political Juggernaut – It Can Leave Wacky Environmentalists Behind

Conservatives want poor people to have cheap energy but no one is against cleaner energy and less pollution Continue reading

Taxes on nicotine products: can variable levels help stem the toll of smoking?

Today’s New England Journal of Medicine has a Perspective article by three tobacco experts. Their discussion, Differential Taxes for Differential Risks, contains some important policy recommendations, some clearly salutary, and some not so much. Continue reading

Punishing patients to enforce laws—a cruel and misguided effort.

This one I saw this coming. And, it took no special foresight on my part. Others saw it too. It was virtually guaranteed, mostly due to the DEA’s misguided attempt to control the very serious narcotic addiction problem in this country. Continue reading

Scotland plans to ban GMO agriculture to protect their “image”

The Scottish Secretary of Rural Affairs, Richard Lochhead (who also carries the portfolio for the environment and food) has declaimed his intention to take advantage of an EU ruling permitting nations to “opt out of” (ban) growing Continue reading


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