Feds, 35 states, 100,000 doctors support Vermont AG’s appeal over prescription privacy law

first_imgThe federal government, 35 states, organizations representing over 100,000 doctors, consumer groups and privacy experts have supported Vermont’s appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court to uphold the state’s Prescription Confidentiality Law. Last week, Attorney General William Sorrell filed a brief arguing that Vermont’s law, which restricts the use of doctors’ prescription information for marketing purposes, is constitutional. Data mining companies, including IMS Health and PhRMA, a trade organization for the pharmaceutical industry, claim the law violates their First Amendment rights. The case, Sorrell v. IMS Health Inc., No. 10-779, will be argued before the Supreme Court on April 26, 2011.Earlier this week, many organizations filed ‘friend of the court’ briefs supporting Vermont’s position. The U.S. Department of Justice argued the law is constitutional, as did the state of Illinois, joined by 34 other states and Washington, D.C. The Vermont Medical Society filed an amicus brief joined by other state medical societies, the American Academy of Family Practitioners, and the American Academy of Pediatrics. Together, these groups represent over 100,000 physicians. The Vermont Medical Society explained physicians’ interest in ‘seeing that their patient relationships remain uncompromised by unduly intrusive targeted marketing practices of the pharmaceutical industry.’ The New England Journal of Medicine based its support for the law on a ‘deep respect for the privacy and confidentiality of the doctor-patient relationship.’ Consumer and privacy groups such as AARP, Public Citizen, the Electronic Privacy Information Center, and the Electronic Frontier Foundation warned that the commercial use of prescription records poses real risks to doctor and patient privacy and is not protected ‘speech.’Attorney General Sorrell applauded this strong showing of support for Vermont’s law. ‘I am very pleased to have the federal government, a bipartisan group of 35 states and many other respected organizations on our side as we prepare to defend this important law before the nation’s highest court.’ Governor Peter Shumlin stated that he ‘appreciates the Justice Department’s support for this commonsense measure to protect medical privacy and reduce healthcare costs.’Federal law restricts the sale of patient-identifiable information, but many pharmacies sell records that reveal which doctors prescribe which drugs, as well as the age and gender of the patient receiving the drug. Pharmacies sell this information to data mining companies who sell it to pharmaceutical companies. Pharmaceutical companies use the data as part of targeted marketing strategies directed at individual physicians. The legislature enacted the Prescription Confidentiality Law at the request of doctors who objected to the practice and called it ‘an intrusion into the way physicians practice medicine.’ The law provides that doctors’ prescription information cannot be sold or used for marketing prescription drugs unless the doctor consents.The Vermont federal district court upheld the law but a divided panel of the Second Circuit Court of Appeals reversed that ruling in November 2010. That decision is now under review by the Supreme Court. The First Circuit Court of Appeals upheld similar laws passed in New Hampshire and Maine. A list of the case briefs filed in the U.S. Supreme Court is available here. Source: Vermont AG March 3, 2011last_img read more

Paraguayan Navy Seizes Almost 500 Kg of Marijuana

first_imgBy Juan Delgado/Diálogo July 29, 2020 On June 6, the Paraguayan Navy, with the cooperation of the Paraguayan National Anti-Drug Secretariat (SENAD), seized 498 kilograms of marijuana, estimated to be worth about $150,000, while on patrol on the Paraná River in Ciudad del Este, Paraguay, the SENAD said in a press release.“Blow to narcotrafficking,” the Paraguayan Navy said on its Instagram account. “The shipment was about to be sent to Brazil, but it was left behind when the criminals saw the control team,” the SENAD, for its part, said on its Facebook page.During a river patrol, authorities spotted a boat with several people around, who fled as soon as they noticed the security forces. “Based on this suspicious action, we conducted an intense search in the area and found 21 large packages near this canoe […] containing 498 kilograms of pressed marijuana,” the Navy said.Service members continued the search and found another vessel similar to the first one in the same area, which led authorities to assume that traffickers were going to refloat both vessels to send the shipment to Brazil, the Navy said on its statement.With the support of the Specialized Unit against Narcorafficking of the Attorney General’s Office, the shipment of marijuana and the vessels seized were transferred to the Eastern Naval Base to carry out the necessary procedures.“These activities are part of the direct fight against narcotrafficking and aim to prevent people and goods from entering the country illegally, in compliance with the Health Emergency Decree against the spread of COVID-19 in our country,” the Navy said.“The seizures that result from our operations have a direct impact on the finances of crime, as well as on the drug market in our society. We continue to work for the people on a daily basis,” SENAD said on its Twitter account.“From March to June, authorities seized more than 1.5 [metric] tons of pressed marijuana in several operations carried out in the Alto Paraná area,” Lieutenant Commander José María Aguiar Cristaldo, head of the Paraguayan Navy Social Communication office, told Diálogo. “We conducted these procedures with riverine, air, and land patrols that monitor the areas bordering Brazil and Argentina. The marijuana seized is estimated to be worth about $850,000 in neighboring countries, which means a significant loss for narcotrafficking.”last_img read more

David Huebner, openly LGBT former ambassador, visits USC

first_imgPersona non grata · David Huebner, the first openly LGBT ambassador confirmed by the U.S. Senate, spoke to students on campus Wednesday about the difficulties he faced as a gay diplomat in New Zealand. – Anastasia Velicescu | Daily TrojanTo begin his presentation to the International Relations Undergraduate Association and Residential Student Government on Wednesday, former United States Ambassador David Huebner gave a traditional speech in Maori, honoring the spirits who came before him and the land on which he stood.“We are nothing without those who came before us,” Huebner said. “And in that way, I am nothing without those who came before me, and those who will come after me.”Huebner has worked in a variety of roles, from practicing law at Arnold & Porter LLP in Los Angeles to opening his own law firm in China, along with founding the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation. His greatest accolade came in 2009, when Huebner became the first openly LGBT person to be sworn in as an ambassador by the U.S. Senate.This was the focus of the first half of Huebner’s talk — how social justice and public policy intersect for an openly gay U.S. diplomat. Throughout his career as an ambassador, Huebner encountered incidents of discrimination. When he was first appointed as the U.S. ambassador to New Zealand and Samoa, same-sex marriage was illegal in both countries. He was on the hit list of multiple militias. Huebner’s husband was barred from benefits typically given to spouses of U.S. diplomats and, therefore, couldn’t work as a physician when the couple lived in New Zealand. Several of the senior officers in the embassy held meetings without him, discussing their concerns that Huebner would “turn the embassy too gay.”Huebner was not discouraged by this discrimination. Instead, he took it as a challenge and watched as the attitudes in those countries adapted through the years he worked with them.“Being out is the single most powerful statement an LGBT person can make,” Huebner said. “If you are out and visible, social justice occurs.”After presenting briefly for 20 minutes, Huebner opened the floor to questions from the  approximately 40 students in attendance. The questions ranged from how Huebner, a leader in political social media usage, used Twitter as a diplomatic tool to how ambassadors can affect policy in the countries they work in. He spoke in depth about the impact he had in New Zealand as a communicator and an advisor.“It’s not a diplomat’s role to make policy, but if you’re good enough at communicating, you can certainly influence policy,” Huebner said. “We don’t all think the same way. But if you listen and are willing to truly hear the needs of those who you’re working with, you will be able to find common ground.”The event was organized by sophomore RSG Social Justice and Inclusion Coordinator Jackie Kim, who met Huebner last spring at a Pacific Council luncheon covering international policy and invited him to campus last spring. Kim felt that Huebner’s unique approach to diplomacy and his passion for reaching out to future leaders would be a perfect fit for USC students. Huebner’s talk was part of IRUA’s career month and echoed RSG’s focus on sponsoring events that support diversity and inclusivity while developing social justice across campus.“He has experience and insight from his ‘nontraditional’ experience in the foreign service to offer to USC students,” Kim said. “Getting more exposure to USC students is something he really enjoys. He was impressed with the attentiveness and engagement of the students at the event.”As a final question, Kim asked Huebner to share what he saw as his legacy — both as a diplomat and as an LGBT leader. But Huebner told students that their legacies should be at the back of their minds as they approach a future in diplomacy.“Don’t go into a job worried about your legacy,” Huebner said. “I like to think about my career as being shot out of a cannon. My main fear was just don’t screw it up. Whenever you’re the first, you can’t make mistakes. But I think the thing I had was being unabashedly who I am. That, if anything, was my legacy.”Correction: This article previously stated that Huebner began the event by speaking Samoan. He spoke Maori. The article also stated that sodomy was illegal in New Zealand and Samoa when Huebner took office. Same-sex marriage was illegal. The article has also been updated to reflect that Huebner faced incidents of discrimination, not discrimination “at every turn.” The Daily Trojan regrets the errors.last_img read more

Warriors squander opportunity to win late, fall to Magic 100-96

first_imgORLANDO — The Warriors played well on Sunday but, in a season when so much has gone wrong, it seems everything needs to go right for them to win.The Warriors (4-17) lost to the Orlando Magic, 100-96, at Amway Center in a game that came down to one shot with two seconds left.On the final play, Warriors guard Alec Burks came off a screen set by Draymond Green, caught the pass, turned, and launched an open shot to win … Click here if you’re unable to view the photo gallery on your mobile device.last_img read more

MRI Overtaking X-Rays

first_imgThe British Medical Journal 12 June cover story1 says that recent advances in magnetic resonance imaging may soon make MRI supersede X-ray as the preferred technology for whole body imaging.  MRI avoids the damage caused by X-rays and provides more contrast and detail, especially in the detection of cancer.  MRI is also replacing traditional autopsy techniques.  See the summary on EurekAlert.1Eustace and Nelson, “Whole body magnetic resonance imaging,” British Medical Journal 2004;328:1387-1388 (12 June), doi:10.1136/bmj.328.7453.1387.The article mentions Raymond Damadian and references his seminal 1971 paper.  Damadian was slighted by the Nobel committee last year (see 10/10/2003 headline) but won the Ben Franklin Medal and Bower Award this year to add to his lifetime honors for inventing this life-saving technology.  Answers in Genesis found a quote by evolutionist Michael Ruse, in which he speculates that the main reason the Nobel committee bypassed Damadian was because of his creationism.  That is scandalous.  Though an ardent anti-creationist, Ruse sympathized with the outrage over the unjust decision, stating, “I cringe at the thought that Raymond Damadian was refused his just honor because of his religious beliefs.”(Visited 11 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Measures to improve quality education in schools: Why India needs to develop school ecosystems

first_imgWith nearly a quarter of India’s population being in the age of attending school and college, whether our demographic situation is an asset for our country or not depends on the quality of their learning.Knowledge, skills and expertise are the key enablers for maintaining our economic growth momentum, especially in a scenario of technology-led disruptions like Industry 4.0, where skills and expertise requirements are ever-changing.Why is the right ecosystem essential for imparting quality education?Today, it is very difficult to predict over half the expertise and skill sets which will be required in the next 5 yearsThe concept of lifelong learning will have to be embedded in the way we teach our youthOver the years, through various initiatives, educational institutions have been made accessible to all across the country According to Annual Status of Education Report 2017, about 25 per cent students in the age group of 14-18 years could not read basic text fluently in their own language.Now, the next stage would be to ensure that students remain enrolled, and learn — so that they become empowered and productive citizens, who can be the key participants in nation-building and growth-linked economic development.To achieve this, an enabling ecosystem will have to be developed which comprises school premises along with facilities that are inviting for students, teachers who have a passion for their chosen vocation, pedagogy that transitions from rote learning to conceptual methods that can keep both teachers and students engaged and engrossed — among others.3 measures that can enable the right ecosystem needed for imparting quality educationadvertisement1. Maintained infrastructureA clean, spacious school building having basic facilities including:Spacious classrooms with requisite furniture, boards, electrical fittings like lights and fansClean and hygienic toiletsAccessible drinking waterActivity and play areasLaboratories with requisite instruments and equipmentComputers for students to learn and experiment withHaving a good school building with spacious classrooms is not enough; it needs to be maintained so that students find it to be an inviting environment to which they look forward to coming every day to learn. While the findings of the Annual Status of Education Report of 2017 show that the number of students completing elementary school has increased over the years, they, however, lack foundational skills.2. Quality of teaching and teachersTeachers are key in ensuring that students get the requisite lessons that keep their minds ignited for seeking knowledgeStudents’ likes and dislikes for attending classes, or interests in a particular subject, can be linked to their teacher and his/her quality of teaching.The challenge of improving quality of teaching by training teachers and supporting them with modern teaching aids, tools and methodologies — like smart classrooms and digital course content — needs to be taken up, so that teachers take pride in their jobs.This will also encourage more people to take up teaching as a vocation, thus assisting in solving the vacancy of seats issue3. Extra-curricular activitiesExtra-curricular activities are also a key component in sustaining a youngster’s interest at school Extra curricular activities play an important role in a student’s school life.Schools should have requisite sporting facilities and avenues for cultural events, which together contribute to building a student’s life skills and personality.Do we have the aforementioned ecosystem in our schools?The above eco-system is currently available only in a few schoolsThese include some of the private schools largely located in major cities and a few residential schools, which are able to charge fees that covers costs of operations including teacher salaries and facility maintenance.However, vast majority of the youth does not have access to such facilities and quality teachers due to issues like affordability and their location — especially those residing in semi-urban and rural areas.Annual Status of Education Report 2017All is not well with our education system as per the Annual Status of Education Report of 2017, which shows the state of affairs of our education system. Screenshot from ASER’s website.While the findings show that the number of students completing elementary school has increased over the years, they, however, lack foundational skills.It was assessed that about 25 per cent students in the age group of 14-18 years could not read basic text fluently in their own language, and more than half faced challenges in performing basic arithmetic.Need of the hour: Addressing gaps in Indian education1. Initiatives like Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, launched in 2001, do seek to address the issue of school infrastructure, teacher quality and training, filling vacancies, but even today, there is a long way to go.advertisement2. As economic conditions improve, aspirations for a better future increase, families who have affordability power prefer to enroll their children in private schools — in hope for a better learning outcome.3. We will need to urgently transform our education system to meet the aspirational needs of the new generation, which will ensure that India’s demographic dividend continues to remain its asset.4. We will also need to ensure that a proper learning ecosystem is available across the length and breadth of the country for desired learning outcomes to be achieved. A good teacher makes all the difference to a child’s education.5. Only investing in education institutional premises is not enough, these will become centres of learning only if the students and teachers connect, and interest in teaching and learning is enhanced using appropriate pedagogy.6. There is a an additional need to have monitoring procedures and processes in our schools so that learning outcomes are regularly assessed and remedial measures can be taken in a timely manner to address shortcomings.7. The recent initiatives of having smart classrooms in public schools could go a long way in addressing this need of an enabling ecosystem with features and facilities like digital content, broadcasting classes conducted by experienced teachers, interactive classes through video conferencing, etc.These can make learning more inviting and motivate teachers to improve their teaching methods using smart technologies.- Authored article by Anindya Mallick, Partner, Deloitte IndiaRead: What to expect from a teaching career in 2018Read: Use of technology in education: Myth vs realitylast_img read more

Minister Discusses with Grand Bahama Councilors Issues and Successes of Local Government

first_imgFacebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApp Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApp#Bahamas, November 1, 2017 – Grand Bahama – Minister of Transport and Local Government, the Hon. Frankie Campbell, met with Local Government Councilors during his trip to Grand Bahama October 26-27, 2017.   The meeting took the form of a dinner at Maryann’s Restaurant in Freeport.Minister Campbell told the council leaders that his purpose in meeting with them was to get feedback on their respective constituencies, but mostly to learn from them how to put together a successful local government council.   He noted that Local Government is still something the Government intends to implement in Nassau and, thus, he wanted to “pick their brains” on exactly what works in the establishment of local government.Once Local Government Councilors shared with the Minister their concerns and challenges, they were more than happy to share their recommendations on the successful establishment of Local Government.Press Release: BIS(BIS Photo/Andrew Coakley) Related Items:last_img read more