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The Ethics of Rationing COVID-19 Vaccine for the Sickest Among Us

January 13, 2021 • Posted in Blog

C. Ben Mitchell, Ph.D Distinguished Fellow

We must not allow our combined COVID-19 fatigue to prevent us from asking important questions about public health ethics. At the time I am writing this essay, we are just transitioning into Phase 2 of the vaccination plan. I am sure our public health officials are doing the best they can under unprecedented circumstances, so we should give them the benefit of the doubt. But for the sake of clarity in the future, some retrospective analysis will be crucial.

For instance, in our own state, we have abandoned traditional triage ethics in favor of a purely age-based ...read more

The Prescription for Flourishing Embodiment in Public Bioethics

December 4, 2020 • Posted in Blog

 

A Book Review

C. Ben Mitchell, Ph.D. Distinguished Fellow

American public bioethics does not have a sterling history because it misunderstands its most important subject, the human subject. This is the claim of a brilliant new book by O. Carter Snead, the Director of the de Nicola Center for Ethics and Culture and professor of Political Science at the University of Notre Dame.

In What it Means to be Human: The Case for the Body in Public Bioethics (Harvard, 2020), Snead offers a genealogy of American public bioethics. Public bioethics, as contrasted with clinical bioethics, is the realm of human subjects research where, instead ...read more

The Problem of Ill-Gotten Gain in Health Care

October 22, 2020 • Posted in Blog

C. Ben Mitchell, Ph.D. Distinguished Fellow

The politicized debate about President Trump’s treatment for Covid-19 may have shrouded an important set of questions about the science of developing treatments, viz., the problem of ill-gotten gain.

Among other treatment protocols, the President received Regeneron’s REGN-COV2, a “cocktail” of two neutralizing antibodies that has shown promise in some animal studies (see here and here). The media jumped on an association between REGN-COV2 antibodies and fetal cells, some even claiming that the antibodies were developed from fetal cells.

 

Screenshot of NYT headline on Oct. 8, 2020

 

 

 

 

The fact of the matter is REGN-COV2 was tested for its virus-neutralizing ...read more

COVID-19 in Wuhan: Plea for Help Retracted

February 27, 2020 • Posted in Blog

D. Joy Riley, M.D., M.A. Executive Director

One thing is clear: COVID-19, the newest coronavirus to infect humans, has our attention. Locally, people planning to travel—almost anywhere—are wondering about where to obtain face masks. As of Tuesday of this week, reports the New York Times, the United States had 57 cases, with 40 of those related to the Diamond Princess cruise ship that docked in Japan. The NYT article further reported,

  “We cannot hermetically seal off the United States to a virus,” Alex M. Azar II, the secretary of health and human services, told a Senate panel on Tuesday. “And we need to ...read more

23andMe and Drug Development

January 31, 2020 • Posted in Blog

D. Joy Riley, M.D., M.A. Executive Director

More than a decade ago—in a different time and a different place—a neighbor offered me a box of stuff he had bought as part of a lot at some estate sale. He needed to get rid of no small amount of “stuff,” so he gave me that box of tarnished silverware and odds and ends. I took it home and spent a couple of days cleaning it. We were already planning a yard sale, and so I placed the now-cleaned items I did not need from the neighbor’s box in the sale. Imagine his surprise ...read more

Helping Patients Live vs. Helping Them Die

June 6, 2017 • Posted in Blog

D. Joy Riley, M.D., M.A. Executive Director

Cultural Suicide On Sunday, 28 May 2017, The Tennessean published a full page set of articles on the problem of suicide amongst the armed forces in our nation. The year 2012 saw a peak of 22 U.S. veterans killing themselves per day (Jake Lowary, “‘I can’t do barbecues:’ Veteran says“). The Department of Veterans Affairs plans a 7.5 percent budget increase to $186.1 million in 2018 — all to address suicide prevention, the department’s “highest clinical priority” (Jake Lowary, “Suicide rising in the military, but some programs give veterans hope“).

In light of these sobering statistics, it ...read more

Public Comment before the FDA Cellular, Tissue, and Gene Therapies Advisory Committee, 25 February 2014

February 25, 2014 • Posted in Blog

Good afternoon, Members of the Advisory Committee, Ladies and Gentlemen.

I am Dr. D. Joy Riley, the executive director of The Tennessee Center for Bioethics & Culture, an educational not-for-profit organization headquartered in Nashville, TN, dedicated to promoting human dignity in the face of challenges to what it means to be human, and to informing and equipping people to face the vital bioethics issues of the 21st Century.

I am a physician by training, and hold a graduate degree in bioethics as well. I appreciate the opportunity to speak to you today.  I have no conflicts of interest to report.

It is remarkable ...read more

Justices, 9-0, Bar Patenting Human Genes — NYT

June 14, 2013 • Posted in Atlas

By Adam Liptak — read the story here

Published 13 June 2013

Myriad Genetics CEO Claims He Owns Your Genes — Forbes

April 17, 2013 • Posted in Atlas

Steven Salzberg, Contributor

Published 13 April 2013

Article here.

Asking the Right Questions

February 28, 2013 • Posted in Blog

Marilyn Chandler McEntyre has done us all a favor by writing her book, Caring for Words in a Culture of Lies (Grand Rapids, MI:  Eerdmans, 2009).  Early in her chapter, “Don’t Tolerate Lies,” the author references a quote of Blaise Pascal: We hate the truth, and people hide it from us; we want to be flattered, and people flatter us; we like being deceived, and we are deceived.* Given this situation, Professor McEntyre offers some help to us, that we might be better able to discern what is true when we read the news. How ...read more