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Medicolegal

Analysis and Comment (19)

People with life-threatening or incurable diseases may be willing to try experimental drugs and unproven treatments. juicyrai/Flickr

Do we need a law to help people try experimental drugs?

People with life-threatening or incurable diseases may be willing to try experimental drugs and unproven treatments, but they face the risk of exploitation. Is the law the best avenue to ensure that they…
The legal landscape around rights and responsibilities for home births is growing increasingly complex. Flickr: Thomas

Risks versus rights in home birthing: a legal view

The ongoing and sometimes emotive debate about risks and rewards of giving birth in hospital or at home is nothing new. What is new is the attention being given to the legal rights and responsibilities…
Our legal system already has provisions in place capable of responding to criminal conduct by health-care workers. Image from shutterstock.com

Health-care providers – a different class of criminal?

Should Australian health-care workers face criminal penalties if they wilfully or recklessly neglect or mistreat patients? The United Kingdom is currently grappling with this question after systemic failures…
Marlise’s husband and parents say her body is being used as an incubator. Image from shutterstock.com

Brain death, pregnancy and ethics: the case of Marlise Munoz

In November, 33-year-old Texas woman Marlise Munoz collapsed at her Fort Worth home after suffering a suspected blood clot in her lungs. She was later declared brain dead. When the hospital determined…
Dr Jayant Patel (centre), walks with his wife Kishoree (right) and defence barrister Michael Byrne (left) to the Brisbane Supreme Court on Friday. Dave Hunt/AAP

High Court orders a retrial after upholding Jayant Patel’s appeal

The High Court has handed down its decision on Jayant Patel’s appeal against his conviction on three counts of manslaughter and one count of grievous bodily harm. It unanimously upheld Patel’s appeal on…
Vioxx was withdrawn from the Australian market in October 2004 and there’s an ongoing compensation case. DaGoaty/Flickr

Vioxx withdrawal: making sense of the fight for compensation in Australia

The enormous medical impact of modern pharmaceuticals has on occasion been matched by some large-scale litigation regarding adverse events. The Vioxx litigation in Australia and elsewhere is one such recent…
There aren’t any miracle cures but there are a number of treatments that can reduce its severity. Flickr/Algo

Monday’s medical myth: osteoarthritis can be ‘cured’

Switch on daytime television on any given day and you’d be forgiven for thinking there was a cure for the debilitating and dreaded condition, osteoarthritis. Unfortunately, there’s not. And that’s not…
A test case is slated to challenge Myriad’s claim for breast cancer genetic mutations next February. TheAlieness GiselaGiardino²³/Flickr

Patent controversy: don’t let breast cancer gene genie out of the bottle

The US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has found Myriad Genetics is entitled to patents on two sets human genetic mutations used to predict if women have an increased risk of breast and ovarian…
Reimbursing for costs is standard in research but large payments present problems. Flickr/PACOM

Organs for sale? The ethics of paying living kidney donors

The Commonwealth Government is considering a proposal from Kidney Health Australia to reimburse living kidney donors for reasonable expenses incurred during the donation process, such as loss of income…
Transparency in the relationship between doctors and patients will lead to fairer outcomes for victims of medical mishaps. AAP

A healthy prescription: doctors, own up to medical mishaps immediately

An expansion of the fiduciary duties of doctors towards patients could provide better protection to those suffering from medical mishaps. Such an expansion would require doctors to promptly disclose adverse…
Hard laws and regulations are needed to protect our genetic information. California Institute for Regenerative Medicine

We’ve cracked the genetic code, now what?

The rapid development of genetic science and technology holds hope for greatly improved health outcomes, with better diagnostics, treatments and cures, as well as the beginning of pharmacogenomics and…
Laws rewarding informants could help crack down on fraud regarding medicines. anolobb/Flickr

Sing for your supper: why Australia should reward corporate informants

Federal and state governments in Australia appear much less successful than their United States counterparts in recovering taxpayers funds lost to suspected large-scale corporate fraud. For instance, there…
Banning patents on biological agents could see capital for innovative medicines dry up.

Patent amendment bill could kill access to new medicines

Read the argument for the proposed legislation No one can deny that improved medical treatments and equity of access to them are essential to improving our community’s quality of life. Unfortunately, the…
The Bill seeks to close the loophole opened by the US Patent Office 30 years ago. AAP

Who owns the rights to the human body? It’s patently obvious

Read the argument against the proposed legislation Patents are only to be for granted inventions - that’s the intent of the Patents Act 1990, it has been the law for nearly 400 years, and it’s also what…