Boston University School of Law

Health Law Newsletter Fall 2011

Faculty News

Prof. Annas examines health law questions in recent NEJM articles

George AnnasProfessor of Law George J. Annas and his colleagues at BU continue to be regular contributors to the New England Journal of Medicine, which has published five of Annas’ articles in recent months.

  • In “Can Congress Make You Buy Broccoli? And Why That’s a Hard Question” (Jan. 20, 2011), Annas and fellow BU Professors of Law Wendy K. Mariner and Leonard Glantz looked at four causes of the uncertainty surrounding the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). “The article received a positive response from medical doctors who appreciated understanding why there’s any constitutional issue at all,” said Annas. “It’s been a good reception.”
  • “Women and Children LastóThe Predictable Effects of Proposed Federal Funding Cuts (April 28, 2011), by Annas and Mariner, examined the impact of proposed spending cuts on programs benefitting women and children, particularly programs providing women with reproductive health services.
  • In “Sudden Death for a Challenge to Federal Funding of Stem-Cell Research” (June 2, 2011), Annas reviewed a case that appears to have ended a legal challenge to the National Institutes of Health’s funding of research involving human embryonic stem cells.
  • An article by Annas and Glantz, “Impossible? Outlawing State Safety Laws for Generic Drugs” (Aug. 10, 2011), examined the U.S. Supreme Court’s divided opinion in PLIVA, Inc. v. Mensing. The article argued that the case was wrongly decided and that Congress or the FDA should take steps to reverse the preemption finding of the majority so that both generic and brand-name drug manufacturers will be responsible for following state drug-safety labeling laws.
  • Another article by Annas, “Assisted ReproductionóCanada’s Supreme Court and the ‘Global Baby’” (Aug. 4, 2011), explored the implications of the decision of Canada’s Supreme Court on the country’s assisted reproduction laws, and argued that unless physicians take this area of medicine seriously and set international norms, reproductive medicine will become an unregulated pursuit and a new area of human trafficking.

Book Published in Paperback

Worst Case BioethicsAnnas’ most recent book, Worst Case Bioethics: Death, Disaster, and Public Health, has been published in paperback by Oxford University Press. In July, the book received strong reviews in the Journal of Contemporary Health Law and Policy and the American Journal of Bioethics.

In the Classroom

This fall, in addition to teaching Public Health Law and Health and Human Rights to law and public health students, Annas will teach American Bioethics to freshman in the Boston University Honors College, a program for highly motivated and intellectually curious BU undergraduates. It marks the first time Annas will teach the course to freshmen.

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