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Ethical pharmaceutical promotion and communications worldwide: codes and regulations

April 15, 2014 Comments off

Ethical pharmaceutical promotion and communications worldwide: codes and regulations
Source: Philosophy, Ethics, and Humanities in Medicine

The international pharmaceutical industry has made significant efforts towards ensuring compliant and ethical communication and interaction with physicians and patients. This article presents the current status of the worldwide governance of communication practices by pharmaceutical companies, concentrating on prescription-only medicines. It analyzes legislative, regulatory, and code-based compliance control mechanisms and highlights significant developments, including the 2006 and 2012 revisions of the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations (IFPMA) Code of Practice.

Developments in international controls, largely built upon long-established rules relating to the quality of advertising material, have contributed to clarifying the scope of acceptable company interactions with healthcare professionals. This article aims to provide policy makers, particularly in developing countries, with an overview of the evolution of mechanisms governing the communication practices, such as the distribution of promotional or scientific material and interactions with healthcare stakeholders, relating to prescription-only medicines.

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The moral psychology of rationing among physicians: the role of harm and fairness intuitions in physician objections to cost-effectiveness and cost-containment

October 8, 2013 Comments off

The moral psychology of rationing among physicians: the role of harm and fairness intuitions in physician objections to cost-effectiveness and cost-containment
Source: Philosophy, Ethics, and Humanities in Medicine

Introduction
Physicians vary in their moral judgments about health care costs. Social intuitionism posits that moral judgments arise from gut instincts, called “moral foundations.” The objective of this study was to determine if “harm” and “fairness” intuitions can explain physicians’ judgments about cost-containment in U.S. health care and using cost-effectiveness data in practice, as well as the relative importance of those intuitions compared to “purity”, “authority” and “ingroup” in cost-related judgments.

Methods
We mailed an 8-page survey to a random sample of 2000 practicing U.S. physicians. The survey included the MFQ30 and items assessing agreement/disagreement with cost-containment and degree of objection to using cost-effectiveness data to guide care. We used t-tests for pairwise subscale mean comparisons and logistic regression to assess associations with agreement with cost-containment and objection to using cost-effectiveness analysis to guide care.

Results
1032 of 1895 physicians (54%) responded. Most (67%) supported cost-containment, while 54% expressed a strong or moderate objection to the use of cost-effectiveness data in clinical decisions. Physicians who strongly objected to the use of cost-effectiveness data had similar scores in all five of the foundations (all p-values > 0.05). Agreement with cost-containment was associated with higher mean “harm” (3.6) and “fairness” (3.5) intuitions compared to “in-group” (2.8), “authority” (3.0), and “purity” (2.4) (p < 0.05). In multivariate models adjusted for age, sex, region, and specialty, both “harm” and “fairness” were significantly associated with judgments about cost-containment (OR = 1.2 [1.0-1.5]; OR = 1.7 [1.4-2.1], respectively) but were not associated with degree of objection to cost-effectiveness (OR = 1.2 [1.0-1.4]; OR = 0.9 [0.7-1.0]).

Conclusions
Moral intuitions shed light on variation in physician judgments about cost issues in health care.

The absence of cruelty is not the presence of humanness: physicians and the death penalty in the United States

July 11, 2013 Comments off

The absence of cruelty is not the presence of humanness: physicians and the death penalty in the United States
Source: Philosophy, Ethics, and Humanities in Medicine

The death penalty by lethal injection is a legal punishment in the United States. Sodium Thiopental, once used in the death penalty cocktail, is no longer available for use in the United States as a consequence of this association. Anesthesiologists possess knowledge of Sodium Thiopental and possible chemical alternatives. Further, lethal injection has the look and feel of a medical act thereby encouraging physician participation and comment. Concern has been raised that the death penalty by lethal injection, is cruel. Physicians are ethically directed to prevent cruelty within the doctor-patient relationship and ethically prohibited from participation in any component of the death penalty. The US Supreme Court ruled that the death penalty is not cruel per se and is not in conflict with the 8th amendment of the US constitution. If the death penalty is not cruel, it requires no further refinement. If, on the other hand, the death penalty is in fact cruel, physicians have no mandate outside of the doctor patient relationship to reduce cruelty. Any intervention in the name of cruelty reduction, in the setting of lethal injection, does not lead to a more humane form of punishment. If physicians contend that the death penalty can be botched, they wrongly direct that it can be improved. The death penalty cocktail, as a method to reduce suffering during execution, is an unverifiable claim. At best, anesthetics produce an outward appearance of calmness only and do not address suffering as a consequence of the anticipation of death on the part of the condemned.

The absence of cruelty is not the presence of humanness: physicians and the death penalty in the United States

December 6, 2012 Comments off

The absence of cruelty is not the presence of humanness: physicians and the death penalty in the United States

Source: Philosophy, Ethics, and Humanities in Medicine

The death penalty by lethal injection is a legal punishment in the United States. Sodium Thiopental, once used in the death penalty cocktail, is no longer available for use in the United States as a consequence of this association. Anesthesiologists possess knowledge of Sodium Thiopental and possible chemical alternatives. Further, lethal injection has the look and feel of a medical act thereby encouraging physician participation and comment. Concern has been raised that the death penalty by lethal injection, is cruel. Physicians are ethically directed to prevent cruelty within the doctor-patient relationship and ethically prohibited from participation in any component of the death penalty. The US Supreme Court ruled that the death penalty is not cruel per se and is not in conflict with the 8th amendment of the US constitution. If the death penalty is not cruel, it requires no further refinement. If, on the other hand, the death penalty is in fact cruel, physicians have no mandate outside of the doctor patient relationship to reduce cruelty. Any intervention in the name of cruelty reduction, in the setting of lethal injection, does not lead to a more humane form of punishment. If physicians contend that the death penalty can be botched, they wrongly direct that it can be improved. The death penalty cocktail, as a method to reduce suffering during execution, is an unverifiable claim. At best, anesthetics produce an outward appearance of calmness only and do not address suffering as a consequence of the anticipation of death on the part of the condemned.

epistemological and ethical assessment of obesity bias in industrialized countries

December 24, 2011 Comments off
Source:  Philosophy, Ethics, and Humanities in Medicine

Bernard Lonergan’s cognitive theory challenges us to raise questions about both the cognitive process through which obesity is perceived as a behavior change issue and the objectivity of such a moral judgment. This theory provides the theoretical tools to affirm that anti-fat discrimination, in the United States of America and in many industrialized countries, is the result of both a group bias that resists insights into the good of other groups and a general bias of anti-intellectualism that tends to set common sense against insights that require any thorough scientific analyses. While general bias diverts the public’s attention away from the true aetiology of obesity, group bias sustains an anti-fat culture that subtly legitimates discriminatory practices and policies against obese people. Even though designing anti-discrimination laws seem to be a reasonable way of protecting obese and overweight individuals from discriminatio, obesity bias can be best addressed by reframing the obesity debate from an environmental perspective from which tools and strategies to address both the social and individual determinants of obesity can be developed. Attention should not be concentrated on individuals’ behaviour as it is related to lifestyle choices, without giving due consideration to the all-encompassing constraining factors which challenge the social and rational blindness of obesity bias.

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Paula Modersohn-Becker, the challenges of pregnancy and the weight of tradition

June 9, 2011 Comments off

Paula Modersohn-Becker, the challenges of pregnancy and the weight of tradition
Source: Philosophy, Ethics, and Humanities in Medicine

Paula Modersohn-Becker, widely considered to have been one of the most important independent Expressionist painters of the early twentieth century, was thirty-one years old when she gave birth to her first child. Following the then-common practice of putting women to bed rest for two-four weeks after delivery, she died of massive pulmonary embolism when she was first allowed to stand, eighteen days after giving birth. Paula had foreseen her death at a young age and was apprehensive about her pregnancy, yet she painted herself as pregnant in her best known self-portrait, thus underlining the importance of the pregnancy in her life. In the light of knowledge available at the time, the authors present a brief discussion of the life and death of Paula Modersohn-Becker as a reflection on the potential dangers of blindly following conventional wisdom in the medical profession.

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Body Awareness: a phenomenological inquiry into the common ground of mind-body therapies

May 16, 2011 Comments off

Body Awareness: a phenomenological inquiry into the common ground of mind-body therapies
Source: Philosophy, Ethics, and Humanities in Medicine

Enhancing body awareness has been described as a key element or a mechanism of action for therapeutic approaches often categorized as mind-body approaches, such as yoga, TaiChi, Body-Oriented Psychotherapy, Body Awareness Therapy, mindfulness based therapies/ meditation, Feldenkrais, Alexander Method, Breath Therapy and others with reported benefits for a variety of health conditions. To better understand the conceptualization of body awareness in mind-body therapies, leading practitioners and teaching faculty of these approaches were invited as well as their patients to participate in focus groups. The qualitative analysis of these focus groups with representative practitioners of body awareness practices, and the perspectives of their patients, elucidated the common ground of their understanding of body awareness. For them body awareness is an inseparable aspect of embodied self awareness realized in action and interaction with the environment and world. It is the awareness of embodiment as an innate tendency of our organism for emergent self-organization and wholeness. The process that patients undergo in these therapies was seen as a progression towards greater unity between body and self, very similar to the conceptualization of embodiment as dialectic of body and self described by some philosophers as being experienced in distinct developmental levels.

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Generalized anxiety disorder and online intelligence: A phenomenological account of why worrying is unhelpfulGeneralized anxiety disorder and online intelligence: A phenomenological account of why worrying is unhelpful

May 6, 2011 Comments off

Generalized anxiety disorder and online intelligence: A phenomenological account of why worrying is unhelpful
Source: Philosophy, Ethics, and Humanities in Medicine

Worrying is the central feature of generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). Many people worry from time to time, but in GAD the worrying is prolonged and difficult to control. Worrying is a specific way of coping with perceived threats and feared situations. Meanwhile, it is not considered to be a helpful coping strategy, and the phenomenological account developed in this paper aims to show why. It builds on several phenomenological notions and in particular on Michael Wheeler’s application of these notions to artificial intelligence and the cognitive sciences. Wheeler emphasizes the value of ‘online intelligence’ as contrasted to ‘offline intelligence’. I discuss and apply these concepts with respect to worrying as it occurs in GAD, suggesting that GAD patients overrate the value of detached contemplation (offline intelligence), while underrating their embodied-embedded adaptive skills (online intelligence). I argue that this phenomenological account does not only help explaining why worrying is used as a coping strategy, but also why cognitive behavioral therapy is successful in treating GAD.

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Obsessionality & compulsivity: a phenomenology of obsessive-compulsive disorder

February 9, 2011 Comments off

Obsessionality & compulsivity: a phenomenology of obsessive-compulsive disorder

Source:  Philosophy, Ethics, and Humanities in Medicine

Progress in psychiatry depends on accurate definitions of disorders. As long as there are no known biologic markers available that are highly specific for a particular psychiatric disorder, clinical practice as well as scientific research is forced to appeal to clinical symptoms. Currently, the nosology of obsessive-compulsive disorder is being reconsidered in view of the publication of DSM-V. Since our diagnostic entities are often simplifications of the complicated clinical profile of patients, definitions of psychiatric disorders are imprecise and always indeterminate. This urges researchers and clinicians to constantly think and rethink well-established definitions that in psychiatry are at risk of being fossilised. In this paper, we offer an alternative view to the current definition of obsessive-compulsive disorder from a phenomenological perspective. Translation: This article is translated from Dutch, originally published in [Handbook Obsessive-compulsive disorders, Damiaan Denys, Femke de Geus (Eds.), (2007). De Tijdstroom uitgeverij BV, Utrecht. ISBN13: 9789058980878.]

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