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Thursday,  August 18, 2011

From the Public Health Law Program, Office of Strategy and Innovation, CDC
http://www2a.cdc.gov/phlp/


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Announcements
***New Public Health Emergency Response Guide. The Public Health Emergency Response Guide for State, Local, and Tribal Public Health Directors is an all-hazards reference tool for health professionals who are responsible for initiating the public health response during the first 24 hours (i.e., the acute phase) of an emergency or disaster. It provides useful information on the activation and integration of a jurisdiction’s public health system into the existing emergency response structure during the acute phase of an incident. To access the new guide, please visit: http://emergency.cdc.gov/planning/responseguide.asp.

*** Effectiveness of Dram Shop Liability. The Community Preventive Services Task Force has released a report finding commercial liability is an effective strategy to reduce alcohol-related problems. To read the report and press release, please visit: http://www.ajpmonline.org/webfiles/images/journals/amepre/AMEPRE%20Media%20Release%20-%20Dram%20Shop%20and%20Overservice%20080811.pdf.

***New Public Health Law Training Resource. The Northwest Center for Public Health Practice has developed an online training module drawn from the experience of public health officials and their attorneys. This module, Practical Law for Public Health Officials, is designed to help public health leaders and professionals recognize legal issues, work effectively with legal counsel and understand their legal responsibilities and authority. To view the module, visit http://www.nwcphp.org/training/courses/practical-law

*** Job Opening: Georgia State University (09/15/2011). The College of Law at Georgia State University is seeking highly qualified applicants for two tenure-track law faculty positions in health law: one with a research focus on health care business regulation, and one with a research focus on health equity and remedying health disparities. These positions were created under the University’s Second Century Initiative. Applications strongly encouraged before September 15, 2011.  For more information, please visit http://law.gsu.edu/recruitment. Applications (cover letter and resume) should be submitted electronically at: http://academicjobsonline.org/ajo/GSU/law.

*** Job Opening: The National Health Law Program. The National Health Law Program (NHeLP), a national public interest law firm, seeks a full-time Chief Operating Officer in its Washington, DC office. The position will report to the Executive Director and will be responsible for enhancing the internal organizational processes and infrastructure that will allow NHeLP to continue to grow and fulfill its mission. As a strategic thought partner of the Executive Director, the COO’s primary duties will be to manage and support daily operations and administration of NHeLP’s three offices (Los Angeles, North Carolina, Washington, DC). For more information, visit http://www.healthlaw.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=108&Itemid=207.

***Conflicts of Interest in the Practice of Medicine: A National Symposium (09/27/2011) The American Society of Law, Medicine, and Ethics (ASLME) will convene a national conference on the issue of Conflicts of Interest in the Practice of Medicine and Medical Research. The Conference will be held on October 27-28, 2011and will be co-chaired by David Orentlicher, M.D., J.D., of Indiana University School of Law – Indianapolis and Aaron S. Kesselheim, M.D., J.D., M.P.H. of Harvard Medical School.  For more information, visit http://www.aslme.org/conflicts-of-interest-20111027-online-registration.

 

Top Story

1.  Appeals court strikes down health overhaul requirement that most Americans must buy insurance

States and Localities

2. Arizona: AG Horne tries to shutter ‘cannabis clubs’
3. Maryland: Customs inspectors in Baltimore keep pests out

National

4. Drilling down
5. Expert: Lack of heat rules endangers student athletes
6. Insurance coverage for contraception is required

 

Briefly Noted

California porn STD database • Georgia governor makes human trafficking priority • Illinois Casey Anthony inspired bills • Indiana outdoor state inspections • Indiana teen driving laws • Kentucky states link Rx databases • New York menu calorie counts • Oregon tougher first time DUI penalties • National illegal “morning-after” pill • National FDA frozen turkey recall • National judge O.K’s stem cell research • National Actos diabetes drug lawsuits • New Zealand synthetic cannabis ban • Sweden amateur atomic scientist

 

Journal Articles

Alcohol interlocks • Facility requirement monitoring • School lunch program • Substance abuse treatment • Healthcare lawyers • Energy content accuracy • Food safety • Patient-centered care • Pandemic influenza preparedness • Prescription drug abuse • Cigarette labels • Assisted reproduction technology • Public health regulation

 

Court Opinions

Alaska smoking ban • California toxic chemical list • California condoms in adult film industry • New York hotdog vendors • New York Seneca cigarette tax • New York lead-associated injuries • Ohio Manna Storehouse retail food vendor • Federal Rozol prairie dog pesticide • Blood specimens • Generic drug warning • Prescription confidentiality law

 

Quotation of the Month

Richard Handl, amateur atomic scientist, Stockholm, Sweden. 

This Month’s Feature

Profiles in Public Health Law: Professor Lawrence O. Gostin

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“Appeals court strikes down health overhaul requirement that most Americans must buy insurance”
Washington Post   (08/12/2011)  
http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/appeals-court-strikes-down-health-overhaul-requirement-that-most-americans-must-buy-insurance/2011/08/12/gIQA53MOBJ_story.html

On Friday, August 12, 2011, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals struck down the individual insurance provision of the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). The insurance provision is the centerpiece of the act, requiring almost all Americans to carry health insurance or face tax penalties.

Twenty-six states have sued, alleging the act is unconstitutional and an overreach of Congress’s powers under the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution. Unlike decisions of the lower courts, the 11th Circuit did not hold the entire act to be unconstitutional, simply the individual insurance provision. “What Congress cannot do under the Commerce Clause is mandate that individuals enter into contracts with private insurance companies for the purchase of an expensive product from the time they are born until the time they die,” wrote Chief Judge Joel Dubina and Circuit Judge Frank Hull, authors of the majority opinion.

Circuit Judge Stanley Marcus, the third panel member to hear the case, dissented saying the majority ignored the “undeniable fact that Congress’s commerce power has grown exponentially over the past two centuries, and is now generally accepted as having afforded Congress the authority to create rules regulating large areas of our national economy.”

Attorneys for the federal government are expected to have the full 11th Circuit review the panel’s ruling. They may also appeal the ruling to the Supreme Court of the United States, where many experts expect the case to be decided ultimately.

[Editor’s note: To read the 11th Circuit opinion, please visit: http://www.uscourts.gov/uscourts/courts/ca11/201111021.pdf]

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“Medical marijuana legal in Arizona? Not so fast, says Attorney General”
International Business Times   (08/09/2011)  
http://www.ibtimes.com/articles/195182/20110809/arizona-medical-marijuana-arizona-marijuana-legal-arizona-cannabis-clubs-arizona.htm

Attorney General Tom Horne filed a civil suit in Maricopa County Superior Court alleging the operation of four cannabis clubs is illegal and should be shut down. Arizona legalized medical marijuana in November 2010, but has yet to issue licenses to would be sellers because of litigation. The lack of licensing has not stopped the state from issuing medical marijuana cards to eligible patients, however.

Under Arizona’s law, Proposition 203, patients may legally grow marijuana and give it to other patients as long as there are no dispensaries nearby and nothing of value is exchanged. Horne argued that the clubs are actually selling marijuana because they charge a membership fee.

“If it was just a place for the patients to go and transfer marijuana for no fee, I suppose it wouldn’t be a problem,” Horne said.

Al Sobol, founder of the 2811 Club, said his club is “just a venue” that allows patients to exchange medical marijuana in a “safe, dignified way.” He maintains his club is an unlicensed dispensary, though it charges an initial application fee of $25 and an additional $75 entry fee for every visit.

Joe Yuhas of the Arizona Medical Marijuana Association said, “In lieu of a regulated industry, we’re now creating an environment in which patients are growing their own with limited oversight, and these private clubs of questionable legality are popping up.” The lack of regulation in the industry and perceived conflict of interest between state and federal law may create dangerous results.

[Editor’s Note: To read Arizona Proposition 203, please visit: http://www.azsos.gov/election/2010/info/pubpamphlet/english/Prop203.htm]

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“Customs inspectors in Baltimore keep pests out”
Baltimore Sun   (08/08/2011)   Michael Dresser
http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/bs-md-customs-inspectors-20110808,0,640573.story

Customs inspectors are working to prevent the Khapra beetle from entering the United States through shipments of rice and grain from eastern countries such as Bangladesh and Morocco. The beetle is described as a “dirty feeder” by the U.S. Department of Agriculture because it damages more grain kernels than it consumes. Those who digest contaminated grain can develop digestive diseases.

According to Customs officer David Ng, the Khapra is such a dangerous pest that it is the only species in which evidence of a live insect is not required to exclude the entire shipment; often the only evidence of infestation is the insects’ castoff shells. “There’s been a large rise in Khapra beetle infestation. It could be outbreaks in other countries,” said Ng.

Customs officials report they have found more instances of Khapra beetle contaminations this year than from 2004-2008 combined. Two sacks rice with evidence of Khapra infestation is enough to send an entire shipment back to its country of origin.

Importers must choose whether to destroy contaminated shipments, return it to the country of origin, or ship it to another nation which might accept it. If enough shipments are found to be infested, additional sanctions may be triggered.

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“Drilling down” 
New York Times   (08/04/2011)   Ian Urbina
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/04/us/04natgas.html

Oil and gas industry executives have claimed for years the process of hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” does not contaminate drinking water because the chemicals are injected thousands of feet below drinking-water aquifers. One documented case and an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) report say otherwise.

Fracking injects water and toxic chemicals deep into the earth at high pressure to release and harvest gas trapped in the rocks. The technique has been used for decades for most natural gas wells.

The extent of fracking contamination is unclear as records and details of suspected cases were sealed when energy companies settled lawsuits with landowners. “I don’t understand why industry should be allowed to hide problems when public safety is at stake. If it’s so safe, let the public review all the cases,” said Carla Greathouse, author of the EPA report documenting a case of drinking water contamination from fracking. Her report concluded that hydraulic fracturing fluids or gel used by the Kaiser Exploration and Mining Company contaminated a well located 600 feet away from the fracking in West Virginia.

In this case, James Parson’s well was contaminated when the Kaiser Exploration and Mining Company fractured the gas well on Mr. Parson’s property. The fracture fluid migrated from the gas well into Mr. Parson’s water well, 600 feet away.  

Eric Wohlschlegel, a spokesman for the American Petroleum Institute, dismissed Greathouse’s claims, saying, “Settlements are sealed for a variety of reasons, are common in litigation, and are done at the request of both landowners and operators.” The industry maintains any contamination in the Parson case occurred because the driller and the regulator were unaware of the nearby aquifer.

[ Editor’s note: To read the EPA report to Congress on the Parson case, please visit: http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/us/drilling-down-documents-7.html#document/p1/a27935]

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“Expert: Lack of heat rules endangers student athletes”
CNN   (08/05/2011)
http://edition.cnn.com/2011/SPORT/08/04/heat.deaths/index.html

With athletes dying from heat stress, experts emphasize the need for extreme weather rules. Though most state school athletic associations promulgate guidelines for dealing with extreme heat and other severe weather, there are no nationwide rules protecting school athletes from sudden death due to hot weather.

The week of August 5, 2011, the nation was rocked by accounts of eight athletes dying or being hospitalized because of the heat. Dr. Douglas Casa, chief operating officer of the Korey Stringer Institute of Health and Medicine at the University of Connecticut and author of “Preventing Sudden Death in Sports and Physical Activity,” said, “We think it was the worst week in the last 35 years in terms of athlete deaths.” Casa warned that parents must advocate for more specific and better enforcement of rules for high school sports or athletes will continue to be harmed.

Jurisdictions with rules for excessive heat require practices and games to be rescheduled if the heat index is over a certain temperature. Jason West, communications director for the Missouri State High School Activities Association described the association’s recommended guidelines, “If the heat index is over 105, then you stop, reschedule the practice for a later day or later in the day. If you can afford to do it at night, under lights, that would be even better, but we know some smaller districts can’t.”

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“Insurance coverage for contraception is required”
New York Times   (08/01/2011)   Robert Pear
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/02/health/policy/02health.html

On August 1, 2011, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released new standards guaranteeing free insurance coverage for all government-approved contraceptives for women, without co-payments, as well as other preventative services. The new standards closely follow recommendations from the National Academy of Science and grew out of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA).

 

HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said, “These historic guidelines are based on science and existing literature and will help ensure women get the preventative health benefits they need.” Supporters maintain the new standards will increase access to birth control, but will still not help women without health insurance.

PPACA and the new guidelines highlight the federal government’s recent focus on preventative care. “These guidelines will save countless dollars and lives and send a hugely powerful message about the importance of women’s preventative health care,” said Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut.

The new guidelines also call attention to the ongoing debate about the federal government’s role in health care. Many conservative groups, including the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Family Research Council, opposed any required coverage of contraceptives. Health plans offered by specific religious employers would be exempt from the contraceptive coverage requirements.

The standards apply to insurance in years starting on or after August 1, 2012, or in January 2013 for insurance plans that operate on the basis of a calendar year.

[Editor’s note: To read the HHS release, please visit: http://www.hhs.gov/news/press/2011pres/08/20110801b.html

_____________________BRIEFLY NOTED______________________

California: In wake of government investigations, porn trade group revives STD database
“Porn trade group to revive performer STD database”
Los Angeles Times   (07/27/2011)   Molly Hennessy-Fiske
http://www.latimes.com/health/la-me-porn-20110727,0,1113741.story

Georgia: Governor makes human trafficking a priority, GBI task force created to address issue
“Sex, labor trafficking subject of Atlanta summit”
Atlanta Journal Constitution   (08/01/2011)   Andria Simmons
http://www.ajc.com/news/atlanta/sex-labor-trafficking-subject-1065197.html

Illinois: Legislators introduce bills making it a felony for parent not to report missing child
“Illinois joins push for Caylee Anthony law”
Quad-City Times   (08/08/2011)   Kurt Erickson
http://qctimes.com/news/state-and-regional/illinois/article_54d181ec-c22b-11e0-976c-001cc4c03286.html

Indiana: After fatal stage collapse, public questions lack of government oversight
“Inspections are not required for outdoor stages”
Indy Star   (08/16/2011)   John Russell, Tim Evans and Heather Gillers
http://www.indystar.com/article/20110816/NEWS15/108160318/In-Indiana-inspections-not-required-outdoor-stages?odyssey=tab|topnews|text|IndyStar.com

Indiana: Without evidence of teen-driving class benefits, legislatures hesitant to change laws
“Indiana legislators show reluctance to change teen driving laws”
Courier Press   (08/08/2011)   Eric Bradner
http://www.courierpress.com/news/2011/aug/08/no-headline---ev_drivers/

Kentucky: States to link prescription drug databases in effort to reduce prescription fraud
“Ky., Ohio sharing prescription information”
Washington Examiner   (08/08/2011)  
http://washingtonexaminer.com/news/2011/08/ky-ohio-sharing-prescription-information

New York: NYC law mandating calorie counts on menus encourages lower calorie choices
“Calorie labels change some diner’s habits: study”
Reuters   (07/27/2011)   Andrew Seaman
http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/07/27/us-calories-idUSTRE76P7BL20110727

Oregon: Lawmakers toughen penalties for first time drunken-driving offenders
“Lawmakers join to put an end to drunk driving”
Statesman Journal   (08/07/2011)   Peter Wong
http://www.statesmanjournal.com/article/20110807/COLUMN0108/108070326/Lawmakers-join-put-an-end-drunk-driving

National: FDA warns illegal “morning-after” pill, “Evital” possibly targeted at Hispanic women
“FDA warns of counterfeit ‘morning-after’ pill”
ABC   (08/02/2011)
http://abclocal.go.com/kabc/story?section=news/health&id=8284671

National: Frozen turkey has long shelf life, salmonella recalls complicated
“Frozen turkey may be contaminated with salmonella, officials warn”
Los Angeles Times   (08/05/2011)   Hugo Martin
http://articles.latimes.com/2011/aug/05/business/la-fi-turkey-recall-20110805

National: U.S. District Judge O.K.’s federal funding of stem cell research
“Government funding reaffirmed for stem cell research”
Los Angeles Times   (07/28/2011)   Eryn Brown
http://articles.latimes.com/2011/jul/28/health/la-he-stem-cell-ruling-20110728

National: Actos diabetes drug linked bladder cancer risk, lawsuits abound
“Lawsuits follow diabetes drug link to cancer risk”
Atlanta Journal Constitution   (08/05/2011)   Linda A. Johnson
http://www.ajc.com/health/lawsuits-follow-diabetes-drug-1079816.html

New Zealand: Synthetic cannabis product use snuffed out for a year
“New Zealand bans synthetic cannabis products”
BBC News   (08/04/2011)   Phil Mercer
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-14414050

Sweden: Man tries to split atoms, charged with unauthorized possession of nuclear material
“Swedish man caught trying to split atoms at home”
Atlanta Journal Constitution   (08/03/2011)
http://www.ajc.com/news/nation-world/swedish-man-caught-trying-1071456.html

___________________JOURNAL ARTICLES____________________

“Requiring suspended drunk drivers to install alcohol interlocks to reinstate their licenses: effective?”
Addiction   (08/2011)   Robert B. Voas, et al.
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1360-0443.2010.02987.x/full (subscription required for full text)

“A web-based program to ensure compliance of medical staff providers with mandated health care facility requirements”
American Journal of Infection Control   (08/2011)   Bruce S. Ribner, et al.
http://www.ajicjournal.org/article/S0196-6553(10)00975-2/abstract (subscription required for full text)

“Competitive foods, discrimination, and participation in the national school lunch program”
American Journal of Public Health   (08/2011)   Rajiv Bhatia, Paula Jones and Zetta Reicker
http://ajph.aphapublications.org/cgi/reprint/101/8/1380 (subscription required for full text)

“The looming expansion and transformation of public substance abuse treatment under the affordable care act”
Health Affairs   (08/2011)   Jeffrey A. Buck
http://content.healthaffairs.org/content/30/8/1402.full (subscription required for full text)

“An interdisciplinary collaborative approach to wellness: adding lawyers to the healthcare team to provide integrated care for patients”
International Journal of Health, Wellness and Society   (08/2011) Lisa Bliss, Sylvia Caley and Robert Pettignano
http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1904632

“Accuracy of stated energy contents of restaurant foods”
Journal of the American Medical Association   (07/2011)   Lorien E. Urban, et al.
http://jama.ama-assn.org/content/306/3/287 (subscription required for full text)

“Food and drug administration regulation of food safety”
Journal of the American Medical Association   (06/2011)   Katie F. Stewart and Lawrence O. Gostin
http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1865442

“The individual mandate and patient-centered care”
Journal of the American Medical Association   (08/2011)   Scott A. Berkowitz and Edward D. Miller
http://jama.ama-assn.org/content/306/6/648.long (subscription required for full text)

“WHO’s pandemic influenza preparedness framework: a milestone in global governance for health”
Journal of the American Medical Association   (07/2011)   David P. Fidler and Lawrence O. Gostin
http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1890912

 “USA hones in on prescription drug abuse”
Lancet   (08/2011)   Sharmila Devi
http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(11)61236-1/fulltext
“Assisted reproduction—Canada’s Supreme Court and the ‘Global Baby.’”
New England Journal of Medicine   (08/2011)   George J. Annas
http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMhle1101361

“Graphic Warnings for Cigarette Labels”
New England Journal of Medicine   (08/2011)   Howard K. Koh
http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMp1108233

“Higher first amendment hurdles for public health regulation”
New England Journal of Medicine   (08/03/2011)   Kevin Outterson
http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMp1107614

___________________COURT OPINIONS____________________

Alaska: Ban on smoking in private clubs does not violate right to privacy
Fraternal Order of Eagles, Juneau-Douglas Aerie 4200,  Mark Page, Brian Turner, R.D. Truax and Larry Paul v. City and Borough of Juneau
Supreme Court of Alaska
Case No. 6574, Supreme Court No. S-13748
Decided July 1, 2011
Opinion by Justice Dana Fabe
http://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=14270353271403226899&q=Fraternal+Order+of+Eagles,+Juneau-Douglas+Aerie+4200+v.+City+and+Borough+of+Juneau&hl=en&as_sdt=2,11

California: OEHHA may update toxic chemical list in accordance with Proposition 65
California Chamber of Commerce v. Brown
Court of Appeals of California, First District, Division One
Case No. A125493
Decided June 6, 2011
Opinion by Justice Kathleen M. Banke
http://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=4171833227738700208&q=california+chamber+of+commerce+v.+edmund+brown&hl=en&as_sdt=2,11&as_ylo=2011

California: Suit seeking mandatory condom use in adult film industry dismissed
AIDS Healthcare Foundation et al., v. Los Angeles County Department of Public Health
Court of Appeals of California, Second District, Division Three
Case No. B222979
Decided June 16, 2011
Opinion by Justice Richard Dennis Aldrich
http://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=5392325579393260376&q=aids+healthcare+foundation+v.+los+angeles+county+department+of+public+health&hl=en&as_sdt=2,11&as_ylo=2011

New York: Hotdog vendors’ argument relied on hearsay, motion for leave to reargue denied
Hossain v. City of New York
Supreme Court, New York County
Case No. 406889/07, Mot. Seq. No. 005
Decided June 20, 2011
Opinion by Judge Barbara Jaffe
http://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=11476294095698654547&q=kazihossatn,+mohammed+akhand,+and+Mohammed+Ali,+Individually,+and+on+behalf+of+all+other&hl=en&as_sdt=2,11

New York: Summary judgment granted to state in cigarette tax case
Seneca Nation of Indians v. State of New York
Supreme Court, Erie County
Case No. 2011-000714
Decided June 8, 2011
Opinion by Judge Donna M. Siwek
http://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?q=seneca+nation+of+indians+2011+NY+slip+op+51087&hl=en&as_sdt=2,11&case=15126049176682095038&scilh=0

New York: Jury could reasonably find lead-associated injuries not due to landlord’s negligence
Cunningham v. Anderson
Appellate Division of the Supreme Court of New York, Third Department
Case Nos. 511282, 511336
Decided June 9, 2011
Opinion by Justice William E. McCarthy
http://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=16272145141509328463&q=mykelti+cunningham+utopia+rogers+v.+John+K.+Anderson&hl=en&as_sdt=2,11&as_ylo=2011

Ohio: Manna Storehouse, LLC, club selling food to members qualifies as retail food vendor
Stowers v. Ohio Department of Agriculture
Court of Appeals of Ohio, Ninth District, Lorain County
C.A. No. 10CA009782
Decided June 6, 2011
Opinion by Judge Eve Belfance
http://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=3935129948286469204&q=jaqueline+stowers+v.+ohio+department+of+agriculture&hl=en&as_sdt=2,11&as_ylo=2011

Federal: Total injunction of Rozol pesticide’s registration would not restore parties to status quo
Defenders of Wildlife v. Jackson
United States District Court, District of Columbia
Civil Action No. 09-1814 (ESH)
Decided June 14, 2011
Opinion by Judge Ellen Segal Huvelle
http://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=13475121952600411788&q=defenders+of+wildlife+v.+lisa+p.+jackson&hl=en&as_sdt=2,11&as_ylo=2011

Federal: Plaintiff’s claims largely speculative, lack standing in blood spot specimen case
Higgins et al. v. Lakey
United States District Court, Western District of Texas
Civil Action No. SA-10-CV-990-XR
Decided July 7, 2011
Opinion by Judge Xavier Rodriguez
http://docs.justia.com/cases/federal/district-courts/texas/txwdce/5:2010cv00990/458369/24/

Federal: Fed. regulations applicable to generic drug manufacturers pre-empt state-law claims
Pliva, Inc. V. Mensing
Supreme Court of the United States
Case Nos. 09-993, 09-1039, 09-1501
Decided June 23, 2011
Opinion by Justice Clarence Thomas
http://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/09-993.ZO.html

Federal: Vermont’s Prescription Confidentiality Law unconstitutionally burdens speech
Sorrell. Attorney General of Vermont, et al. v. IMS Health Inc. et al.
Supreme Court of the United States
Case No. 10-779
Decided June 23, 2011
Opinion by Justice Anthony Kennedy
http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/10pdf/10-779.pdf

 

__________PHL NEWS QUOTATION OF THE MONTH___________

“[I just wanted to] see if it’s possible to split atoms at home.”

-- Richard Handl, amateur atomic scientist, Stockholm, Sweden, upon being arrested for trying to split atoms in his kitchen.

 

______________THIS MONTH’S FEATURE_______________

Profiles in Public Health Law:  Lawrence O. Gostin

Title: University Professor and the Linda D. and Timothy J. O’Neill Professor of Global Health Law; Faculty Director, O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law (WHO Collaborating Center on Public Health Law and Human Rights)


Organization:  Georgetown University Law Center

Education: JD, LL.D (Hon)

CDC Public Health Law News: What was your route to public health law? 

Gostin:  In my autobiographical article (From a Civil Libertarian to a Sanitarian, J Law & Society 2007, 34: 594-616, http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1031791) I wrote that the first love of my life was mental health. I became Legal Director of the National Association of Mental Health in London directly after law school. In my 15 years in the United Kingdom I brought a series of landmark cases before the European Court of Human Rights. I then became the head of the National Council of Civil Liberties (the UK equivalent of the ACLU). After England I went to Harvard to work on AIDS and public health, and now global health and human rights at Georgetown. So, my development began as a pseudo-patient in a mental hospital for the criminally insane in North Carolina, followed by mental health and civil liberties in London, through to a love for public health, global health and human rights.

The clash between public health and civil liberties was never greater than in the aftermath of September 11th and the anthrax attacks. At that time the CDC requested that I lead a drafting team in writing the Model State Emergency Health Powers Act (MSEHPA). The MSPHA was a great success in one vital way—most states changed their laws in whole or part based on the Model Law, and we are safer because of it. But it caused great social and political division. It was then that those in the civil liberties community challenged the law, and it put in stark light my movement from a civil libertarian to a sanitarian. I still believe in civil liberties passionately. But it needs to be balanced against the common good. And I think America has sometimes deemphasized communitarian values, which are important to a happy and safe population. Now a key public health law issue is the modernization of public health law. The RWJ “Turning Point” Model Public Health Act is one model, and states need to consider how that model could assist them in developing a set of effective and consistent public health legislation. The Institute of Medicine recently launched a report on public health law modernization.

CDC Public Health Law News:  With your diverse background in international public health law, how is your work with Georgetown’s O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law different from past work experiences?

Gostin: For the first time in my life, I have been immersed in the big problems of global health. When people ask why I went to law school, I say, “To Change the World.” Now I realize just how hard that task is to accomplish. When I received my chair at Georgetown Law and established the O’Neill Institute, I made a proposal for a Framework Convention on Global Health. Last month the UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon, urged every country in the world to adopt my proposed treaty. Meeting Basic Survival Needs of the World’s Least Healthy People: Toward a Framework Convention on Global Health, Georgetown LJ 2008, 96: 331-92 (2008), http://ssrn.com/abstract=1014082.  We have formed a global, Southern-led civil society movement for a global health treaty. We have had global stakeholder meetings in Berlin, Oslo, Johannesburg, and Delhi, with more scheduled for Bellagio and Brazil. It is so exciting. Sometimes I get so exhilarated and sometimes despondent about the possibilities, but must never stop trying. See The Joint Action and Learning Initiative: Towards a Global Agreement on National and Global Responsibilities for Health, PLoS Med 2011, 8(5), http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1832825.

CDC Public Health Law News: How is your background in international health law an asset in your position at the O’Neill Institute?

Gostin: It is essential. Although the O’Neill Institute is keenly interested in American law and public health and were very active during the health reform debates, we have a deep passion for the health of the world’s population. We work on global tobacco litigation, health reform in China, health and human rights with the UN Rapporteur, and public health law reform for the WHO among many of our key activities.

CDC Public Health Law News: What projects are you currently most excited about? (Alternate question: what is your public health law specialty?)

Gostin: I am most excited by JALI and the Framework Convention on Global Health (see above). But I am equally committed to reform of the WHO and serve on the WHO Director-General’s Advisory Committee on Reforming the WHO. See Reforming the World Health Organization, JAMA 2011, 305(15):1585-86, http://ssrn.com/abstract=1799432. There is so much to do, including non-communicable diseases, and I am keenly involved in the UN High Level Summit on NCDs. In other words, I have no specialty. When I wrote my public health law book I had to really learn and understand all aspects of public health law—I use the book to teach and to think through the hard problems in public health law and ethics. See Public Health Law: Power, Duty, Restraint (2nd ed. 2008), available at http://www.ucpress.edu/books/pages/11023.php.

CDC Public Health Law News: This month’s issue of the news also includes “WHO’s Pandemic Influenza Preparedness Framework: A Milestone in Global Governance for Health,” a journal article written by you and David P. Fidler and published by the Journal of the American Medical Association.  Why is the PIP Framework important to domestic as well as international public health law?

Gostin: The PIP Framework shows the importance of the WHO even though it needs reforming. It is a deeply political solution but not one based fully on global social justice. What America must learn is twofold. First, we must be more engaged and supportive of multilateral organizations such as the WHO. Secondly, we must ensure fairer access to vaccines and pharmaceuticals to the world’s poorest people. Global social justice would be good for America and good for the world. It keeps us safe from emerging diseases and gives greater opportunity for scientific advancement if the world shares knowledge. And it improves equity and health in all the world’s regions, leading to a more peaceful and secure world.

CDC Public Health Law News: In your article you describe several positive and negative aspects of the WHO’s Pandemic Influenza Preparedness Framework (PIP Framework). How could the PIP Framework be improved in the immediate future?

Gostin: It should include a commitment from rich countries such as the US to devote a fair proportion of their stockpiles of vaccines and pharmaceuticals to poor countries. At present, rich countries have no commitment to share vaccine on an equitable basis.

CDC Public Health Law News: If you were not working in public health law, what would you likely be doing?

Gostin: I would probably work in human rights, mental health, homelessness, or another area where there are vulnerable people that lack a voice.

CDC Public Health Law News: Describe any personal information, hobbies, or interests you care to share.

Gostin: I love gardening, walking, and enjoying nature in all of its wonder. I love food: I bake my own bread, grow my own vegetables, and distrust the sugar, salt, and fat food manufacturers sneak into our food. And, I love music—all kinds from my son’s music to classics.

CDC Public Health Law News: What are your favorite books and what have you read lately?

Gostin: I like books like Blindness, where you have wonderful story tellers and great writing.

CDC Public Health Law News: Is there anything else you'd like to add?

Gostin: I think you have done a quite wonderful job. Nothing to add. Thank you for asking such wonderful questions.

___________________________________________________________
  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. 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 http://www2a.cdc.gov/phlp/cphln.asp. For help with subscriptions or to make comments or suggestions, send an email to Lindsay Culp at lculp@cdc.gov.
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.

 
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