HealthLawProf Blog

Editor: Katharine Van Tassel
Concordia University School of Law

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Call For proposals For Petrie-Flom Center For Health Law Policy, Biotechnology And Bioethics At Harvard Law

The Globalization of Health Care: Legal and Ethical Challenges

The increasing globalization of health care and its inputs provides new challenges for health law and bioethics. This conference will bring together leading scholars and policy-makers to discuss several overlapping and diverging instances of this globalization, to try and develop new strategies and paradigms. The one and a half day event will take place in early summer (exact dates to be announced shortly) at the Harvard Law School. 

For further information and details regarding the conference and proposal requirements, please see Please contact for further information. Brief initial proposals are due before October 25, 2010.


September 29, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Will The Proactive Recall Of Baby Formula Contaminated With Bugs Protect Consumer Confidence?

Taking the high road, Abott Laboratories has recalled certain lot numbers of its Similac baby formula in light of a possible contamination with beetle parts and larvae. This possibility was discovered by an internal quality control review, not by an outraged consumer. Following lessons learned from other manufacturers who lost consumer confidence when they failed to promptly initiate a recall when quality concerns were discovered (e.g. Johnson & Johnson's tardy recall when consumer's complained about problems with its Tylenol line of products for adults and children), Abbott's quick and proactive recall will likely minimize any public relations fallout from the possible contamination.

The message Abbott's proactive stance sends to consumers? Abbott takes quality control measures to identify problems. If a problem is discovered, Abbott reacts quickly to eliminate the problem. The take away is that these types of responsible actions protect consumer trust in product quality. Now, if only other product manufacturers would suit.     

In an interview, Abbott spokeswoman Melisssa Brotz stated that the product being recalled is sold in cans and plastic containers, and only the powdered versions are part of the recall. The liquid versions are not part of the recall. Abbott has created an online tool to check if a container is contaminated. The Wall Street Journal Health Blog explains:

The handy online tool  that can check, by lot number, whether a container of Similac was part of the recall has been strained by heavy use, as has a consumer hotline (1-800-986-8850). 'Abbott is aware of a significant amount of call volume and website traffic, resulting in longer wait times,' the company said in a statement. 'We are increasing our call center resources and expanding the bandwidth of our websites,' it said.

If you can’t make the online tool work and the telephone line is busy, you can also check out this (long) list of recalled lots.

Some quick rules of thumb, from Abbott: the recall only affects customers in the U.S., Puerto Rico, Guam and some Caribbean countries, and it affects all Similac powdered formula sold in rectangular plastic tubs and selected formula in other packaging. Liquid Similac and powder and liquid specialty formulas including Similac Expert Care aren’t part of the recall.



September 26, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)