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December 2011 - CDC Public Health Law News

Thursday, December 15, 2011

From the Public Health Law Program,
Office for State, Tribal, Local and Territorial Support,
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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Director's Note

Public health law just in time for the holidays! Just when you thought you could take a break, you can catch two webinars and apply for a new job. The National Conference of State Legislatures will host a webinar on "Good Food and Good Business" on December 14 and post it as an archive after December 23. The Tobacco Control Legal Consortium will hold a webinar on December 21, addressing tobacco free educational campuses. And finally, Georgia State University is hiring an Associate Director for its Center for Law, Health, and Society. The application deadline is December 23, so get educated and then get a job! Happy Holidays!

Matthew S. Penn, Director
Public Health Law Program

In this Edition


Top Stories

Briefly Noted

Court Opinions

  1. Montana: Failure to report meth house
  2. New York: Occupy Wall Street
  3. Ohio: Retaliation, intoxicated co-worker
  4. Oregon: Master tobacco settlement agreement
  5. South Dakota: Statute of limitations, sexual abuse
  6. Federal: Yasmin and Yaz documents
  7. Federal: Contaminated wells
  8. Federal: Stem cell donation compensation


  1. Model Aquatic Health Code. The Regulatory Program Administration Module of the Model Aquatic Health Code (MAHC) is now available for public comment. CDC, through an initial grant from the National Swimming Pool Foundation, is working with public health and industry representatives across the United States to stem the rising numbers of recreational water illness outbreaks, pool associated chemical incidents, drownings, and injuries at public swimming pools and spas. The MAHC will serve as a tool for local and state agencies interested in implementing or updating existing laws governing the design, construction, operation, and maintenance of swimming pools, spas, hot tubs, and other treated or disinfected aquatic facilities. The MAHC is being developed as a set of modules on specific topics with multiple opportunities for review and comment by the public and other stakeholders. Find more information about MAHC module status and content.
  2. Plan B One-Step. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius concluded the data submitted by Teva Women's Health, Inc., to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Plan B One-Step does not establish enough evidence that those using the medication can understand the label and use it the medicine appropriately. The Secretary overruled the FDA's recommended approval of Teva's application for over the counter availability of the drug to women under the age of 17. Read the Secretary's December 7, 2011 statement on Plan B One-Step.
  3. Sugar-sweetened beverage taxes in Brazil. The American Journal of Public Health will publish the article "Sugar-sweetened beverage taxes in Brazil," by Rafael M. Claro, PhD, and others, in January 2012, Volume 102. The article is the result of an investigation of whether taxes upon sugar-sweetened beverages (SSB) would improve Brazilian household diets. The study concluded that due to high SSB price elasticity in the Brazilian market, a tax on purchased weight or volume would lead to lower SSB consumption. Find more information and read the article on sugar-sweetened beverage taxes.
  4. Drinking age relation to suicide and homicide. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research has published the article "The legacy of minimum legal drinking age law changes: Long-term effects on suicide and homicide deaths among women," by Richard A. Grucza, and others. The article, first published online November 15, 2011, examines whether females who were legally permitted to drink prior to age 21 remained at elevated risk for suicide, homicide and other adverse outcomes in adulthood. Read the article on drinking age relation to suicide and homicide.
  5. Evaluation of Washington State's "911 Good Samaritan Law." The University of Washington has released an initial report of a study evaluating the impacts of Washington's "911 Good Samaritan Law," which provides immunity for those in possession of illegal drugs if they call to report an overdose. Read the initial release on the evaluation of Washington State's "911 Good Samaritan Law.".
  6. Tobacco Policy Webinar.The Tobacco Control Legal Consortium is offering a free webinar, "Developing a Tobacco Free Campus Policy," on December 21, 2011, from 12 to 1:30 p.m., CDT. As concerns about tobacco-related dangers increase, many public and private schools, colleges and universities, and governmental units are creating policies restricting tobacco product use. Designed to assist organizations in creating effective campus-wide tobacco-free policies, this webinar shares insight of those working directly on tobacco-free campus policies for educational institutions. Find more information and register for the tobacco policy webinar.
  7. Job Opening: Georgia State University (12/23/2011). Georgia State University College of Law seeks to fill the position of Associate Director for the Center for Law, Health & Society. Applications are strongly encouraged by Friday, December 23, 2011. To apply for this position, please visit the Georgia State University Human Resources Job site, found at: (job vacancy number 0602222).
  8. State Food System Options Webinar. Charting a Course toward Good Food and Good Business: State Options (12/14/11 at 12 Noon ET/ 11 a.m. CT/ 10 a.m. MT/ 9 a.m. PT). This National Conference of State Legislatures, Health Program webcast about how healthier people and a more thriving economy can result from strengthening food systems will be recorded and archived. Please visit the website after December 22 to listen to the State Food System Options Webinar recording.

Top Stories

  1. Delaware: Law bans drive-thru pain 'scripts

    Delaware Online (11/25/2011) Cris Barrish

    Delaware has banned Delaware pharmacies from dispensing Schedule II controlled drugs from drive-thru windows. The new regulation was implemented after state police were unable to investigate several forged prescription cases because the video footage from the drive-thru window was so poor.

    The law, which takes effect on December 11, 2011, was hotly contested by Walgreens, Delaware's largest drug store chain. Chairman of the Delaware Board of Pharmacy and a Walgreens pharmacist, Geoffrey N. Christ, said the new rule "will negatively affect patient care, especially for chronic patients."

    Those in favor of the regulation say it is necessary to prevent legal, but dangerous drugs from being used illegally by criminals and addicts. "It's a big deal. Law enforcement was having trouble because it was easy to perpetrate fraud through the drive-thru window," said James L. Collins, director of Delaware's Division of Professional Regulation.

    In recent years, pharmacy robberies, arrests for prescription drug fraud, and admissions for addiction treatment have all increased at an alarming rate. On top of the new drive-thru regulation, Delaware is set to launch a prescription monitoring database for all controlled drugs in 2012.

    Douglas FitzRandolph, a Gwinurst, Delaware resident who picks up narcotics at the drive-thru window for his wife, is willing to cope with the inconvenience. "If it stops this madness with people getting prescriptions illegally and taking them and selling them, I'm for it," said FitzRandolph.

    (Editor's Note: To read the regulation, please see Delaware's Controlled Substance Advisory Committee, Uniform Controlled Substances Act Regulation 4.11.3, which says "[n]o filled prescription for any Schedule II controlled substance may be received at any drive through window. Written prescriptions for Schedule II controlled substances may be initially presented at a drive through, but the filled prescription must be picked up inside the pharmacy.")

  2. Michigan: Repeal of helmet law gains traction in Michigan

    Washington Times (12/01/2011) Andrea Billups

    Polls show 80 percent of Michigan state residents favor some type of motorcycle helmet rule. Repeal of the existing mandatory helmet law was vetoed twice by Gov. Jennifer M. Granholm, but the measure is before the state Senate once again, having already been passed by the House of Representatives. Only three states in the country are currently without mandatory helmet laws: Iowa, Illinois and New Hampshire.

    The House bill would allows motorcyclists over the age of 21 with a minimum two years riding experience to ride without helmets if they take a safety class and purchase a $20,000 personal injury medical insurance policy.

    "We're hopeful it's headed for final passage, but it's a question of timing, I think," said Andy Solon,  Sen. Phil Pavlov's legislative director for state. Pavlov sponsored the bill.

    According to the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning, repealing the law would likely result in a drastic drop in helmet use, from nearly 100 percent now to 58 percent without the law. Also, deaths and serious injuries resulting from motorcycle accidents are projected to increase by 60 percent.

    Jackie Gillian, president of Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, which is based in Washington, D.C., criticized repeal of mandatory helmet laws. "Every time a state repeals it, it's very predictable- deaths go up...Motorcycle helmets are the best protection for a motorcyclist. When you don't have the law, you have very low usage, but with a law, it's about 90 percent," she said.

  3. National: College Athletes move concussions into the courtroom

    New York Times (11/29/2011) George Vecsey

    Four former college athletes, Derek Owens, Adrian Arrington, Mark Tuner, all three recent college football players, and Angela Palacios, a former college soccer player, have filed suit against the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) alleging the NCAA has been negligent regarding awareness and treatment of brain injuries to athletes. The lawsuit follows those filed by several former National Football League (NFL) players and in the wake of rising public attention to traumatic brain injuries.

    The NCAA's general counsel and vice president for legal affairs, Donald Remy, called the suit "wholly without merit." He continued, saying "The NCAA is an attractive target for opportunistic plaintiffs' class-action date, none of these cases have been proven to have merit."

    "The goal of the lawsuit is to force the NCAA to take this seriously, so that they are really policing and making the effort that is required to prevent these injuries," said plaintiffs' counsel Steve W. Berman of Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro, LLP, a Seattle based firm.

    California Representative Linda T. Sánchez, who has been involved with the Congressional hearings regarding NFL players' brain damage, said, "I hear from former players who were taught spearing...It's quite savage." Spearing is a technique where modern helmets are used as weapons to injure opponents in high school and youth football leagues.

    Due to public and Congressional pressure, the NFL has begun subsidizing care for former players who were the most severely injured, even though some of the damage may have been inflicted long before the players entered the NFL.

  4. National: Fears of disease outbreak? Half of states see rise in kids skipping school shots

    The Associated Press (11/28/2011) Mike Stobbe

    According to an analysis performed by the Associated Press (AP), the rate of exemptions from mandatory school vaccines has risen in more than 25 states over the past five years. Though health officials have not identified what percentage of exemptions would likely lead to outbreaks, some diseases, such as measles, have already re-emerged in some communities with higher vaccine exemption rates.

    Parents who have elected to exempt their children from vaccinations cite a variety of reasons for doing so; "Many of the vaccines are unnecessary, and public health officials don't honestly know" the effects of giving many vaccines to such young children, said Jennifer Margulis of Ashland, Oregon. Margulis is a mother of four and parenting book author who lives in a community with unusually high vaccination exemption rates.

    Though multiple studies have shown no link between autism and vaccines, many parents, like Stacy Allan, a Summit, N.J. mother of three who filed exemptions and stopped vaccinating, believe the shots are related to elevated autism rates and risks. "I don't understand how other people don't see that these two things are related," said Allan.

    Conditions for exemptions vary from state-to-state, with some states requiring parents to file official religious or medical exemption requests while others merely allow parents to check a box on their child's school registration form.

    In many instances vaccinated children can also be infected when there are large numbers of non-vaccinated children in the area. "Vaccine refuses tend to cluster...Your child's risk of getting disease depends on what your neighbors do," said Saad Omer, an Emory University epidemiologist who has researched the topic extensively.

    Also, it is possible for diseases that have been largely eradicated in the United States to reemerge. "Polio can come back. China was polio-free for two decades, and just this year, they were infected from Pakistan. And there is a big outbreak of polio in China now. The same could happen here," said Dr. Lance Rodewald, Director of the CDC's Immunization Services Division.

    Even with more parents choosing exemptions, the overall vaccination rate remains high; ninety percent of children in the U.S. are vaccinated for polio, measles, hepatitis B and chicken pox. In many states, exemptions for children entering school for the first time are less than 1 percent.

  5. National: Thousands sterilized, a state weighs restitution

    New York Times (12/09/2011) Kim Severson

    In 2002 North Carolina officially apologized for the state's eugenics program, one of the most aggressive in the country, and now Gov. Betty Purdue is grappling with whether the state should provide restitution to the estimated 7,600 victims who were sterilized by the program.

    The Eugenics Board of North Carolina operated from 1933 to 1977 and attempted to keep welfare numbers small, improve the gene pool, and stop poverty. Among the program's victims selected for sterilization were uneducated girls who had been raped by older men, people with epilepsy, those deemed too "feeble-minded" to rear children, and poor teenagers from large families.
    About 70 percent of the sterilization operations in North Carolina tool place after 1945. Girls and women made up about 85 percent of those sterilized and nonwhite minorities made up about 40 percent.

    Gov. Purdue has vowed to put money in the 2012 budget to compensate victims, but discussions about how much money per victim are ongoing. "How can you quantify how much a baby is worth to people? It's not about quantifying the unborn child, it's about the choices that were taken away," said Charmaine Fuller Cooper, executive director of the North Carolina Justice for Sterilization Victims Foundation.

    For many victims an apology is not enough. "What would an apology do for me? You don't know what my kids were going to be. You don't know what kids God was going to give me. Twenty thousand dollars ain't gonna do it, honey," said Nial Ramirez, 65, who was sterilized at 18 after she gave birth to her daughter. Ramirez and others who were sterilized say they did not understand the procedure and felt they had no choice but to comply.

Briefly Noted

  1. Florida: State sanctions physicians for poorly documented, excessive and risky prescription writing
    Florida sanctions top Medicaid prescribers – but only after a shove
    Pro Publica (11/17/2011) Tracy Weber and Charles Ornstein
  2. Kentucky: Officials agree to produce records of fatal child abuse cases after two-year long battle
    Kentucky officials agree to produce records in fatal child abuse, neglect cases
    Courier-Journal (11/30/2011) Deborah Yetter
  3. Minnesota: State to pay $3M settlement in class-action for abusive restraint of patients
    Minnesota agrees to pay $3M to patients abused in treatment program
    Pioneer Press (12/02/2011) David Hanners
  4. New Jersey: Lawmakers divided on bill to allow over the counter sales of hypodermic needles
    Bill that would allow over the counter sales of hypodermic needles advances in N.J. Assembly (11/21/2011) Matt Friedman
  5. Pennsylvania: Federal complaint alleges school refused student based on HIV-positive status
    HIV-positive boy denied admission sues Hershey School
    Reuters (12/01/2011) Eric Johnson
  6. Texas: New rules for state hospitals in wake of sexual abuse allegations against doctor
    In wake of sex abuse allegations, new rules for state hospitals
    Statesman (11/21/2011) Andrea Ball and Eric Dexheimer
  7. Wisconsin: Governor signs law making teachers mandatory child abuse reporters
    Walker signs array of bipartisan children's legislation
    Lakeland Times (11/29/2011) Richard Moore
  8. National: Phone applications store medical data, but not subject to HIPAA
    Apps can help you take a pill, but privacy's a big question
    NPR (12/02/2011) Nancy Shute
  9. National: Hangover pill receives FDA approval
    Blowfish: The hangover cure in a pill
    WTOP (12/05/2011) Meera Pal
  10. National: Child nutrition experts gagging over Congress' definition of "vegetable" pizza
    Congress' definition of 'vegetable' pizza could mean little for county schools
    Charleston Daily Mail (11/22/2011) Amber Marra
  11. National: FAAN introduced an act to allow schools to stock epinephrine for student emergencies
    Epi-pen law for any student: pros and cons
    Examiner (11/21/2011) Stacey Korecki
  12. National: SCOTUS to hear privacy suit of HIV-positive pilot who failed to disclose HIV status
    High court to hear HIV-positive pilot's privacy case
    NPR (11/30/2011) Nina Totenberg
  13. National: Physicians recognized signs of child abuse, but fail to report
    Physicians don't always report child abuse, study shows
    American Medical News (11/28/2011) Christine S. Moyer
  14. National: Shared Hope International ranks states' penalties for sex traffickers
    States at opposite ends of scale in penalizing sex traffickers
    Kansas City Star (12/01/2011) Mike McGraw
  15. National: SCOTUS asks H. Bartow Farr III and Robert A. Long to make arguments in ACA case
    Top Court names lawyers to argue healthcare case
    Reuters (11/18/2011)   James Vicini
  16. Europe: European Commission bans full-body x-ray scanners for "health and safety" reasons
    Europe bans airport x-ray scanners. Should the U.S. follow suit?
    Time (11/21/2011) Meredith Melnick

Court Opinions

  1. Montana: County negligent in failing to list home as former methamphetamine drug lab
    Slack v. Landmark Company
    Supreme Court of Montana
    Case No.: DA 10-0651
    Decided November 22, 2011
    Opinion by Justice Michael E. Wheat
  2. New York: Protestors' First Amendment rights do not preclude park owners' right to maintain park
    Matter of Waller v. City of New York
    Supreme Court, New York County
    Case No.: 112957/11
    Decided on November 15, 2011
    Opinion by Judge Michael D. Stallman
  3. Ohio: Retaliation case of employees who reported co-worker was intoxicated remanded
    Blackburn v. AM. Dental Centers
    Ohio Court of Appeals, 10th Appellate District
    Case No.: 10AP-958
    Opinion November 17 2011
    Opinion by Judge Susan D. Brown
  4. Oregon: State did not release claim to punitive damages under master tobacco settlement agreement
    Williams v. RJ Reynolds Tobacco Company
    Case No.: CC 970503957, SC S059014 (Control), CC 970604457, SC S059248
    Supreme Court of Oregon
    Opinion Filed December 2, 2011
    Opinion by Chief Judge Paul J. De Muniz
  5. South Dakota: Sexual abuse case barred by statute of limitations, plaintiff on inquiry notice
    Iron Wing v. Catholic Diocese of Sioux Falls
    Supreme Court of South Dakota
    Case No.: 25729-a-JKK
    Opinion Filed November 30, 2011
    Opinion by Judge Bradley G. Zell
  6. Federal: Documents produced through discovery retain protected status before FDA committee
    In Re Yasmin and Yaz (Drospirenone) marketing, sales practices and procedures liability litigation
    United States District Court, Southern District of Illinois
    No.: 3:09-md-02100-DRH-PMF, MDL No. 2100
    Filed November 10, 2011
    Opinion by Judge David R. Herndon
  7. Federal: Settlement final in lawsuit regarding well contaminated by county landfill
    Holt v. City of Dickson
    U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee
    Case No.: 3:08-cv-229
    Submitted for approval December 6, 2011
  8. Compensation for donations of stem cells via blood donation not prohibited by federal organ sale law
    Doreen Flynn v. Eric H. Holder
    U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
    Case No.: 10-55643
    Opinion Filed December 1, 2011
    Opinion by Judge Andrew Jay Kleinfeld

About Public Health Law News

The CDC Public Health Law News is published the third Thursday of each month except holidays, plus special issues when warranted. It is distributed only in electronic form and is free of charge.

The News is published by the Public Health Law Program, Office for State, Tribal, Local, and Territorial Support, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). Lindsay Culp, J.D., M.P.H., Editor; Abigail Ferrell, J.D., M.P.A., Writer. Special thanks to Stacie Kershner, J.D., for help with the Special Feature.


News content is selected solely on the basis of newsworthiness and potential interest to readers. CDC and the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) assume no responsibility for the factual accuracy of the items presented from other sources. The selection, omission, or content of items does not imply any endorsement or other position taken by CDC or DHHS. Opinions expressed by the original authors of items included in the News, or persons quoted therein, are strictly their own and are in no way meant to represent the opinion or views of CDC or DHHS. References to products, trade names, publications, news sources, and non-CDC Websites are provided solely for informational purposes and do not imply endorsement by CDC or DHHS. Legal cases are presented for educational purposes only, and are not meant to represent the current state of the law. The findings and conclusions reported in this document are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the views of CDC or DHHS. The News is in the public domain and may be freely forwarded and reproduced without permission. The original news sources and the CDC Public Health Law News should be cited as sources. Readers should contact the cited news sources for the full text of the articles.


For past issues or to subscribe to the CDC Public Health Law News, visit To make comments or suggestions, send an email to Lindsay Culp.

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