By Hyeongsu Park and Kathy Wang
- On December 21, a federal judge ordered Alabama to stop isolating prisoners with HIV, ruling in favor of a group of inmates in a class-action lawsuit.
- The Food and Drug Administration moved a big step closer to approving the first genetically engineered animal — a fast-growing salmon — by concluding that the salmon would have “no significant impact” on the environment.
- Richard S. Foster, who as chief actuary of the Medicare program for the last 18 years nettled presidents of both parties with his projections of rapid growth in federal health care spending, will retire next month.
- The Food and Drug Administration conferred with public health officials from 50 states about how to strengthen regulations on drug compounding companies in the wake of a national meningitis outbreak.
- As part of the Hospital Value-Based Purchasing Program, Medicare disclosed bonuses and penalties for nearly 3,000 hospitals as it ties almost $1 billion in payments to the quality of care provided to patients.
- The French government has announced that it will introduce legislation allowing assisted suicide and some forms of euthanasia.
- A Time magazine article questions the Chinese treatment of opiate addiction by destroying a region of the brain which feels pleasure. Although China’s Ministry of Health banned this treatment, neurosurgeons are still using it to treat drug addiction. The article raises a number of ethical concerns regarding informed consent and questions the effectiveness of the treatment.