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Bioethics Community News

Abortion by prescription now rivals surgery for U.S. women

"American women are ending pregnancies with medication almost as often as with surgery, marking a turning point for abortion in the United States, data reviewed by Reuters shows. The watershed comes amid an overall decline in abortion, a choice that remains politically charged in the United States, sparking a fiery exchange in the final debate between presidential nominees Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump."

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Federal judge blocks two abortion laws in Alabama

"A U.S. federal judge on Thursday blocked abortion restrictions in Alabama that limit how close clinics can be to public schools and ban a procedure used to terminate pregnancies in the second trimester. Judge Myron Thompson in the District Court for the Middle District of Alabama issued a preliminary injunction, ruling that the laws are likely to be found unconstitutional, according to online court records."

The backlash over high drug prices is hitting pharma where it hurts

"The simmering public outrage over drug prices finally seems to be catching up to the pharmaceutical industry. Earnings reports in recent days have laid out a grim picture of slumping sales and anemic growth projections at several large drug makers and wholesalers. Executives blame many factors — including heavy competition and hardball tactics from insurers — but analysts say the bottom line is crystal clear: Pharma can no longer count on steadily hiking drug prices."

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Drug maker thwarted plan to limit OxyContin prescriptions at dawn of opioid epidemic

"The warning signs of what would become a deadly opioid epidemic emerged in early 2001. That’s when officials of the state employee health plan in West Virginia noticed a surge in deaths attributed to oxycodone, the active ingredient in the painkiller OxyContin. They quickly decided to do something about it: OxyContin prescriptions would require prior authorization. It was a way to ensure that only people who genuinely needed the painkiller could get it and that people abusing opioids could not.

Where the elderly die can vary by region

"How much time people spend in hospitals or nursing homes in the final months of life, instead of at home, varies widely depending on where they live, new research shows. Across the Rockies and regions of the Gulf Coast, the dying spend more than two additional weeks hospitalized or in other facilities, on average, compared with those at the end of life in the Midwest and Montana, researchers reported Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine."

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When decaptiation doesn't mean death

"Humanity has always sought to draw a clear line between life and death. In the 1800s, physicians went to increasingly absurd lengths to determine if someone had died. One such test involved the insertion of long pins through cadavers’ chests all the way down to their hearts; tiny flags attached to the ends of these pins were supposed to signal beating if they flapped. Modern medicine developed tools to sharpen this line, but it achieved quite the contrary.

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