Marcia Angell is a member of the faculty of Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School and a former Editor in Chief of The New England Journal of Medicine. 
(December 2018)


Opioid Nation

A man who has just taken heroin, Philadelphia, April 2018

Pain Killer: An Empire of Deceit and the Origin of America’s Opioid Epidemic (Expanded and Updated Edition)

by Barry Meier

Dopesick: Dealers, Doctors, and the Drug Company That Addicted America

by Beth Macy
The opioid epidemic is usually seen as a supply problem. If we can interdict the supply of prescription opioids, the thinking goes, we can stanch the epidemic. But that is unlikely to work for two reasons. First, this is no longer mainly an epidemic of prescription drugs but of street drugs. And second, it creates an onerous obstacle for doctors and outpatients who require pain treatment.

The Abortion Battlefield

The Women’s March, Washington, D.C., January 2017

Women Against Abortion: Inside the Largest Moral Reform Movement of the Twentieth Century

by Karissa Haugeberg

About Abortion: Terminating Pregnancy in Twenty-First-Century America

by Carol Sanger
In 1973 the Supreme Court, in the case of Roe v. Wade, found by a 7–2 majority that women had a constitutional right to end a pregnancy. Almost immediately, Roe v. Wade became a moral and political—and sometimes a literal—battlefield, and it remains so. Two excellent new books tell the story. Both authors support abortion rights, but they also present the opposition to abortion fairly.

Why Be a Parent?

‘La Famille’; photograph by Alain Laboile from Family Photography Now, a collection of work by forty contemporary photographers. It includes essays by Sophie Howarth and Stephen McLaren, and is published by Thames and Hudson.

The Gardener and the Carpenter: What the New Science of Child Development Tells Us About the Relationship Between Parents and Children

by Alison Gopnik
Probably most of us love our children even more than ourselves, and we do what we can to provide for their futures. In theory, this should make us more cognizant of the state of the world and our particular part of it. We should want to make every effort, for example, to mitigate global warming, conserve natural resources, maintain infrastructure, and do our part toward creating a more decent and sustainable society. But in this time of grotesque inequality in the US, that is not what’s happening.

Medical Research on Humans: Making It Ethical

Tony, a seven-year-old boy with artificial limbs, July 1963. He was born without arms as a result of the drug thalidomide.

The Nuremberg Code

issued by the Nuremberg tribunal in 1947

The Declaration of Helsinki

issued by the World Medical Association in 1964 and revised most recently in 2013
In the first part of this review, I discussed principles and codes of ethics concerning human experimentation, including the Nuremberg Code and the Declaration of Helsinki.1 But principles and codes are not the same as laws and regulations, even though they might inspire them. The first US statute dealing …

Medical Research: The Dangers to the Human Subjects

Dr. Herta Oberheuser, whose war crimes included conducting medical experiments on concentration camp prisoners, being sentenced to twenty years in prison at the Nazi Doctors’ Trial, Nuremberg, August 1947

The Nuremberg Code

issued by the Nuremberg tribunal in 1947

The Declaration of Helsinki

issued by the World Medical Association in 1964 and revised most recently in 2013
Given the American faith in medical advances, it is easy to forget that clinical trials can be risky business. They raise formidable ethical problems since researchers are responsible both for protecting human subjects and for advancing the interests of science. It would be good if those dual responsibilities coincided, but often they don’t.