Introducing Medical Hot Potatoes: Navigating the hot-button medical issues of today

By MDLinx staff
Published August 25, 2022

Key Takeaways

Dear readers,

The MDLinx team is excited to launch our newest exclusive series, Medical Hot Potatoes, where we delve into controversial topics that cross over medicine and politics, and cover them with an objective eye.

Increasingly, the intersection between medicine and politics is giving rise to thorny and divisive issues for clinicians—complicating their ability to provide necessary patient care without getting into legal or ethical trouble.

A few examples:

  • Healthcare for transgender youth. A number of states have enacted (or plan to enact) laws or policies that criminalize gender-affirming healthcare for trans youth, imposing harsh legal consequences for physicians and other HCPs who provide or facilitate such care. Prominent medication associations like the AMA, the APA, and the American Academy of Pediatrics oppose these policies, saying that restricting access to gender-affirming care can be harmful to the mental and physical health of trans youth. They also decry government intrusion into medicine. We explore the issues here.

  • Reproductive rights and health. The overturning of Roe v Wade in June 2022 may hamper the ability for doctors and patients to maintain medical confidentiality and privacy as it relates to contraception, and more. It also may have a chilling effect on OBG-YN abortion training in affected states.

  • Prescription medications caught in the abortion rights cross-fire. In a related issue, some patients are reporting problems getting their methotrexate prescriptions in the wake of Roe being overturned, according to the Arthritis Foundation and other sources. Methotrexate is widely used for inflammatory arthritis, other autoimmune conditions, and cancer (at higher doses). But it is also medically indicated for ending a pregnancy in such cases as ectopic pregnancy or miscarriage. This complicates the issue for healthcare practitioners and pharmacists in states with abortion restrictions.

In a recent public statement, the Arthritis Foundation said: "Many of these state laws specifically list certain medications as 'abortion-inducing drugs,' which bans their use without necessarily distinguishing by condition or diagnosis." They added that methotrexate is a well-established FDA-approved therapy with a long track record of safety and effectiveness and supported unencumbered access to it.

In this series, we'll shine a light on these "hot potato" issues, providing balanced perspectives and guidance to help you navigate them, for yourself and your patients. Join us, as we dig into some of the most controversial and important topics of the day!

We invite you to share your own experiences and knowledge. Submit any topic you'd like to see covered and let us know if you'd like to be a guest author.

All the best,

The MDLinx Team

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