NYC’s Super-size Soda Ban declared Unconstitutional

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NYC-soda-banThis post was written by Alberto Alemanno, O’Neill Institute Scholar .  It was originally published at http://albertoalemanno.eu/articles/nycs-super-size-soda-ban-declared-unconstitutional. Any questions or comments about this post can be directed to alemanno@hec.frNote: The O’Neill Institute’s discussion of the appellate court’s decision can be found here.

In Spring 2012, New York City’s Mayor unveiled plans to limit the serving size of non-diet soft drinks, such as sweetened teas, sweetened black coffee, hot chocolate, energy drinks, sports drinks as well as sweetened juices, sold in fast-food franchises, movie theatres and arenas. This has been dubbed the ‘Soda ban’. The Mayor’s stated purpose of the rule was to address rising obesity rates in the City. Following the imposition of the pioneering bans on both indoor and outdoor smoking, this move immediately earned the NYC Mayor the nickname of ‘Nanny Bloomberg’. Read More

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Sugary Beverages Have Their Day in Court

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          largeYesterday, the Appellate Division of the New York Supreme Court (“the Court”) affirmed the State’s Supreme Court decision finding that the New York City Board of Health and Mental Hygiene’s  (DOHMH) Sugary Drinks Portion Cap Rule, or the “Soda Ban” was unconstitutional. Accordingly, the Appellate Court concluded that “in promulgating this regulation the Board of Health failed to act within the bounds of its lawfully delegated authority. Accordingly, [the Court] declare[d] the regulation to be invalid, as violative of the principle of separation of powers.”

As the Court explicitly points out, the decision rests not on the subject matter of the regulation, but on the legal doctrine of separation of powers. In other words, the Court considered whether the DOHMH, an administrative agency as opposed to a legislative body, is constitutionally vested with the authority to promulgate a limit on the number of ounces of soda that certain vendors can sell. Read More

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What Possible Effects Can the Recent United Nations Human Rights Council Resolution Have in Latin American Courts?

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This post was written by Luis Enrique Rosas (Intern at  Mexican Supreme Court), summer research assistant at Georgetown University Law Center. Any comments or questions about this post can be directed to luisenriquerosas@gmail.com.

The 23rd session of The United Nations Human Rights Council was held in Vienna on May 27-June 14, 2013. In the session, the Council adopted the resolution titled “Access to medicines in the context of the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health.”[1]  This post discusses the scope of the resolution in the context of the Latin American constitutional courts and judicial decisions regarding the right to health.

This blog covers the following: the resolution goals on the right to health; the role of the judicial power in the protection of right to health, specifically in the Latin American countries that voted in favor of the resolution; and the scope of the United Nations human rights through the Latin American judicial powers’ decisions. Read More

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Will FDA Turn the Tide on Industry-wide Medical Product Development?

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Great_Wave_off_KanagawaThe advent of big data has forced a sea change throughout the scientific research enterprise, shaking the industry’s fundamental attitude towards the data themselves. Data is now understood as the currency of research. Consequently, industry is warming to the new reality that legal norms once considered to drive business – confidential commercial information, trade secrets and intellectual property – can impede innovation and product development. Precompetitive and procompetitive collaboration among traditional competitors and the rising influence of industry outsiders, like philanthropies and patient advocacy groups, have proven that knowledge sharing is quickly revolutionizing an industry historically predicated on secrecy to drive competitive advantage.

No other entity has more power to utilize data sharing to advance the interests of public health than the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).  FDA “currently houses the largest known repository of clinical data (all of which is de-identified to protect patients’ privacy), including all the safety, efficacy, and performance information that has been submitted to the Agency for new products, as well as an increasing volume of post-market safety surveillance data.” Historically, FDA, like most of industry, has shrouded this data behind the veil of confidential commercial information or trade secrets belonging to the data’s source.[1] However, new realities in the world of medical product development – most profoundly analytic tools afforded by big data – call into question the value of keeping data secret.  Read More

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Safety and efficacy of electronic cigarettes to quit smoking are not scientifically demonstrated says WHO – A clear answer to a (not so) complicated problem?

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Electronic cigarettesThis post was written by Florian Kastler (Global Health LL.M. 2011), visiting researcher at Georgetown University Law Center. Any comments or questions about this post can be directed to florian.kastler@gmail.com.

Last week, on 9 July 2013, the World Health Organization (WHO) updated its Questions and answers on electronic cigarettes or electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) concluding that “consumers should be strongly advised not to use (…) electronic cigarettes.”  Despite its limited legal impact, this statement is not trivial as it clearly positions the WHO against electronic cigarettes, while the discussions regarding the health benefits and the regulatory framework are still ongoing.

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The views reflected in this blog are those of the individual authors and do not necessarily represent those of the O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law or Georgetown University. This blog is solely informational in nature, and not intended as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed and retained attorney in your state or country.

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