101 e-Letters

published between 2012 and 2015

  • Teaching medical students rational prescribing and improving opportunities for doctors to appraise new treatments enhances rational prescribing
    Joseph Y Ting

    Greater transparency and regulatory oversight in disclosing gifts and payments to physicians from drug and medical device companies could well reduce their influence on a doctor's prescribing habits and medical management recommendations. The threat of a very public loss of professional reputation among peers and patients is likely to discourage a physician accepting drug and medical device company generosity. However, a m...

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  • The use of placebos in Ebola treatment trials
    Joseph Ting

    The argument for substantial benefit conferred by the placebo effect in treatment trials has been around for a while. Clinical triallists do not deny that inactive sugar pills and IV medications or sham surgery have some quantifiable benefit when compared with doing nothing at all. Patients who consent to participate in treatment studies tend to be more motivated and confident that they will get better than those who ref...

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  • Is it ethical for scarce research funding to be diverted to overzealous policing of low risk observational studies?
    Joseph Ting

    To the Editor:

    A substantial proportion of medical research funding in advanced health economies are diverted to the overzealous policing of low risk observational studies.

    As we plea and wait for the resumption of competitive funding to the research endeavour so necessary to maintaining Australia's global stature as a science and innovation based economy, the haemorrhage could be stemmed re- allocati...

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  • A very difficult area
    Malcolm Kendrick

    A very difficult area indeed. My view is that that, once you have decided to stop fluids and/or nutrition, then the patient will certainly die. Whether or not they will suffer whilst starving, or dehydrating, is unclear. However, prolonging life in such cases extends suffering for relatives, staff, and possibly/probably the patient.

    A lethal injection at this point is surely more humane than extending life and,...

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  • The best argument against the organ market still awaits refutation
    Miran Epstein

    Critics of a regulated market in organs have correctly focussed on its inability to protect the vendor from coercion and exploitation. However, they have consistently failed to realise that coercion and exploitation are not immanent in this market. Rather, they are immanent in the need to even consider selling ones organs (free people do not engage in such considerations). In other words, the critics have failed to ackno...

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  • Authorship for the grant winners and postgraduates
    Atif A Baig

    Dear Sir,

    The article was well read and understood. I would like to draw the attention of readers to the current reality, of having grant winners who are not the authors even though their hypothesis and proposal writing has contributed significantly and scientifically towards achieving the grant/funds, followed by processing of the entire scientific/social projects based on the proposed hypothesis. Authorship i...

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  • Re:Suicide tourism may not change the courts but the courts could alter suicide tourism
    susanne stevens

    The term 'suicide tourism' was first coined by the media for obvious reasons. Is it necessary to use such a repugnant term though. When used to refer to a group collectively this insult can can be glossed over- in a way it could not without causing anger if referring to an individual who takes the harrowing decision to go abroad for an assisted death. To refer to the increased number of people 'from England' (presumably...

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  • Re "Advance consent, critical interests and dementia research"
    Heather Zelle

    Formulating the desire to consent in advance to research as a critical interest is a valuable addition to the literature on consent to research by incapacitated individuals. As Dr. Buller notes, much attention has been paid to these concerns in the literature and many states have enacted statutes protecting human research subjects. States vary in how thoroughly they treat the topic, with some carefully defining who ma...

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  • Suicide tourism may not change the courts but the courts could alter suicide tourism
    Richard A Clubb


    I have no argument with Charles Foster's tortuously argued claim that suicide tourism has not led to a change in prosecutorial policy, although I am far more exercised by the potential for change in the latter influencing requirement for the former. Nor do I disagree with his admission that it is intellectually dishonest for us to allow Swiss clinics to siphon off our sufferings and responsibility, except t...

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  • Does the pragmatic model undermine the importance of the ethical obligations involved in information process? A defence of continuous genetic counselling for research participants.
    Felicitas S. Holzer

    Hallowell et al. advocate an interesting pragmatic approach to the disclosure of genetic information in research settings. Furthermore, they present a useful framework which explicitly addresses advantages and disadvantages linked to different feedback policies researchers could pursue (Hallowell et al. 2014, table 1).

    We agree with the authors that the feedback of findings from whole- genome sequencing (WGS) o...

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