Science Policy For All

Because science policy affects everyone.

Science Policy Around the Web – July 11, 2014

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By: Bethanie Morrison

Our weekly linkpost, bringing you interesting and informative links on science policy issues buzzing about the internet.

AACR Joins Coalition in Urging CMS to Adopt Tobacco Screening and Treatment Measures
Despite the undesirable health consequences of smoking, most hospitals have not placed a high priority on offering evidence-based assistance to patients who should or would like to quit smoking. Tobacco use is the leading cause of disease and early mortality in the United States and adds $150 billion in health care costs each year. In its 2015 Proposed Rule on Inpatient Prospective Payment System (IPPS), the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) encouraged compliance with certain health care performance measures required for CMS to continue to make payments to hospitals. The American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), in partnership with various public health organizations, has submitted comments to CMS suggesting that they include tobacco use screening, tobacco use treatment during hospitalization, and tobacco use management at discharge for acute- and long-term care hospitals as well as psychiatric facilities. Thus far CMS has incorporated the first two measures in its quality reporting requirements and is being encouraged by AACR and others to incorporate the third. (AACR Cancer Policy Monitor)

Seedy tale: Chinese researchers stole patented corn, U.S. prosecutors allege
U.S. prosecutors have alleged that employees of the Chinese agricultural company Dabeinong Technology Group Co. (DBN) and a subsidiary sneaked through midwestern cornfields and gathered patented corn that they attempted to smuggle out of the United States in microwave popcorn boxes. The strains had been developed by various companies including DuPont Pioneer, Monsanto, and LG Seeds. The genetic makeup of corn lines is a highly valued form of intellectual property and is carefully guarded by seed companies. This case reflects real obstacles to innovation within China, according to experts on Chinese agriculture. Court documents reveal that the FBI had been following this group for over a year, and has now arrested seven defendants on charges of stealing trade secrets. DuPont Pioneer has developed a popular corn line in China together with a Chinese company. However, the Chinese government has such tight control over its seed industry that officials have allowed the company to make only one hybrid cultivar available. This tight control has given Chinese scientists the need to investigate the genetic makeup of patented seeds grown in the United States, seeds which they could have requested from DuPont based in China. (Mara Hvistendahl)

BBC staff told to stop inviting cranks on to science programs
The science coverage on the BBC has recently been criticized for giving too much air-time to critics who oppose issues that have no contention in the science community. As a result, BBC journalists are now being made to attend workshops and courses that will help them establish where the weight of scientific agreement may be found, and also how to make that clear to the public audience.  A BBC Trust progress report on this issue stated, “science coverage does not simply lie in reflecting a wide range of views but depends on the varying degree of prominence such views should be given.” A “false-balance” occurs when unqualified critics, such as non-scientific heads of lobby firms, are given the same air-time as the qualified scientists. At least 200 BBC staff have already attended seminars and workshops and more will be offered in the near future to stop journalists giving ‘undue attention to marginal opinion.’ (Sarah Knapton)

Have an interesting science policy link?  Share it in the comments!

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Written by sciencepolicyforall

July 11, 2014 at 1:38 pm

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