Bioethics @ TIU

Zika and Genetically Modified Mosquitoes

Posted September 25th, 2016 by Neil Skjoldal

Just last week, I received a call from a pollster.  It’s election season and I live in a hotly contested ‘swing state,’ so I wasn’t surprised.   What surprised me were the questions I was asked, mostly about the Zika virus—its spread and possible prevention.  One question especially caught my attention:  Are you in favor of genetically modified (GM) mosquitos?   Bioethics in a poll question!  I… // Read More »

Late Term Zika Abortions: Thankfully not Euthanasia

Posted September 19th, 2016 by Mark McQuain

If I were the editor of a recent Newsweek article by Cornell Law Professor Sherry F. Colb, the above title would have been my choice for her article. I must encourage you to read the actual article, lest you believe that the summary that follows is somehow taken grossly out of context. Her concern is that a late term abortion to terminate the life of… // Read More »

Observations from a recent discussion of doctor-assisted suicide

Posted September 15th, 2016 by Jon Holmlund

Early this past June, the Annual Meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) included an ethics session featuring a point-counterpoint discussion, with audience Q+A, of “physician aid in dying,” or, as I think more accurate, “physician-assisted suicide (PAS).”  Discussants were Dr. Timothy Quill, a palliative care specialist who is a past plaintiff in court cases seeking legal approval of PAS, and Dr. Daniel… // Read More »

On Genetic Data

Posted September 12th, 2016 by Neil Skjoldal

In case you’ve run out of things to worry about, Kayte Spector-Bagdady gives us another in a recent post entitled “Why you should worry about the privatization of genetic data.” Spector-Bagdady compares President Obama’s Precision Medicine Initiative with the work of the direct-to-consumer testing company, 23andMe.  Her concern is that “private companies don’t necessarily have to follow the same regulations regarding access to their data… // Read More »

Positive rights and the tyranny of political power

Posted September 7th, 2016 by Steve Phillips

Thanks go to Jon Holmlund for making us aware of the “Consensus Statement on Conscientious Objection in Healthcare” written by Julian Savulescu and a like-minded group of philosophers and ethicists. The statement, which represents one extreme in the discussion of rights of conscience and not a consensus of all those involved in this issue, seeks to transform negative rights into positive rights. That is, they… // Read More »

Evil on its Face

Posted September 1st, 2016 by Jon Holmlund

In June of this year, a group of ethicists—should I say that I use that term loosely?—issued a “consensus statement” to guide legislation and institutional policy regarding conscientious objection in medicine.  Conscientious objection, they explained, “is the refusal to provide a certain medical service, for example an abortion or medical assistance in dying, because it conflicts with the practitioner’s moral views.”  Their words, not mine…. // Read More »

Bioethics & Pharmaceutical Prices

Posted August 29th, 2016 by Neil Skjoldal

Just last week a man walked into my office holding a vile of insulin.  He told me its cost and how much it has increased over time.  He expressed genuine fear that people would not be able to afford it much longer and that they would eventually die because of it. Later that day, I noticed that the Washington Post and other media outlets were… // Read More »

The $280 Better Mousetrap

Posted August 29th, 2016 by Mark McQuain

The rising cost of the Mylan EpiPen has been in the news. Since 2007, Mylan has raised the cost of their two pack EpiPen from just under $100 to over $600 today. That is a cool $300 per EpiPen, substantially above the ten to twenty dollar retail cost of the raw material epinephrine. Why should I be asked to spend a $280 mark-up? Is this… // Read More »

Public discussions on human gene editing

Posted August 25th, 2016 by Jon Holmlund

On August 3, the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine posted online the slides and talks from its July 12 meeting to discuss public implications of the Human Gene-Editing Initiative.  A total of four meetings plus a related workshop were held: an introductory discussion in December 2015, followed by three more substantial meetings plus the related workshop in February, April, and now July of… // Read More »

How can we make the “brave new world” a campaign issue?

Posted August 18th, 2016 by Jon Holmlund

Wesley Smith, who, based on his writing, I consider a kindred soul in bioethics, has published an essay in First Things dated August 5, 2016, and entitled, “Brave New World Should be an Election Issue.”  In it, he quickly runs down the revolutionary changes in the very nature of humanity that appear in the offing based on biotechnological developments since the publication of Aldous Huxley’s… // Read More »