Bioethics Blogs

Web Roundup: Public Health by Lily Shapiro

I assume everyone is, like me, tired of (and stressed out about) the US election, so let’s take a break from that to take a quick look around at some interesting recent public health stories.

According to data released last month by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, the maternal mortality rate in the US is rising, “defying global trends.” In a related article, Newsweek has a long piece on the ways that racism disproportionately disadvantages women of color in terms of maternal health care, exposing them to riskier pregnancies and deliveries; “even when controlling for age, socioeconomic status and education, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that African-American women…face a nearly four times higher risk of death from pregnancy complications than white women.”

New research published in Radiology shows that playing football can affect the brains of children as young as 8. And, CMV Is a Greater Threat to Infants Than Zika, but Far Less Often Discussed.

Many of you perhaps heard about the fact that Médecins Sans Frontières this month turned down a donation of one million Prevnar13 vaccines from Pfizer. Prevnar13 is a vaccine which protects against a particular bacteria that causes pneumonia, the leading cause of death of children under 5 (1.4 million deaths per year), and is recommended for all infants. Pfizer makes USD 6.245 billion in revenue per year from this drug alone, but it is too expensive for MSF to purchase regularly. This article in The Atlantic details the problems with donations of this kind, the reasons for which MSF turned it down, and the opacity of vaccine prices on the global market.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.