Trump's policies set to damage health and science, warns The BMJ

February 21, 2017

The BMJ today warns that Trump's administration "is acting in ways that will suppress research and limit communication on scientific topics that it deems politically inconvenient."

Early policies "risk head-on collision with the scientific and communities" say editors Jose Merino, Elizabeth Loder and Kamran Abbasi, and Harvard professor of , Ashish Jha. "Trump's policies in other areas also have the potential to damage health," they add.

For example, they point to communications restrictions on several environmental protection and public health agencies, while on government websites "is being removed and becoming inaccessible."

And they warn that proposals to reform the Food and Drug Administration "will scale back the agency's ability to ensure the safety and efficacy of approved drugs, harming not only people in America but those in other countries that often follow the FDA's lead."

Instant repeal of the Affordable Care Act, without a viable alternative, will surely prove damaging, they write. While Trump's immigration policy "will disrupt the flow of scientific ideas and knowledge, hinder recruitment of scientists to American institutions, limit training opportunities for international physicians, and worsen national shortages of healthcare workers."

Of course, Trump isn't the first politician to flout scientific principles or favour "alternative facts," but this situation seems different and more worrisome, they say.

They point out that the United States is a powerful nation with a profound influence on the health of the world's population. "That power and influence, if misdirected, will damage efforts to create a healthier, stronger world, one that supports women's health, condemns torture and other human rights abuses, treats refugees and migrants with dignity and hospitality, and ensures that all people, especially the most vulnerable, have access to high quality healthcare."

The BMJ's solution is to "reaffirm our commitment to fostering and applying the best evidence for policy and practice, to be an open forum for rigorous debate that challenges the status quo and holds us all to account, to speak truth to power and support others who do the same, and to actively campaign for a better world, based on our values of transparency, independence, and scientific and journalistic integrity," they explain.

"Whichever way Trump turns, the scientific and healthcare communities must commit to serving the best interests of patients and the public," they say. "By arming ourselves with the fruits of science, being guided by facts and evidence, we can create a healthier planet, not just for Americans but for all the peoples of our world."

Explore further: European science bodies 'concerned' about Trump

More information: Editorial: Standing up for science in the era of Trump, www.bmj.com/content/356/bmj.j775

Related Stories

European science bodies 'concerned' about Trump

February 16, 2017
European science bodies on Thursday criticised Donald Trump's administration for what they said was a "policy reorientation" in favour of views "not based on facts and sound scientific processes and evidence."

Scientists hold rally in Boston to protest threat to science

February 19, 2017
Hundreds of scientists, environmental advocates and their supporters held a rally in Boston on Sunday to protest what they see as increasing threats to science and research in the U.S.

No torture, psychologists' group says to Trump

January 27, 2017
(HealthDay)—Torture is ineffective and cruel, says a group of U.S. psychologists urging President Donald Trump not to restart the CIA's so-called "enhanced" interrogation program.

Scorecard shows public health goals could suffer under Trump presidency

January 19, 2017
Speculation abounds on what a Donald Trump presidency will mean to the future of public health, particularly health care coverage.

Recommended for you

Healthy eating linked to kids' happiness

December 13, 2017
Healthy eating is associated with better self-esteem and fewer emotional and peer problems, such as having fewer friends or being picked on or bullied, in children regardless of body weight, according to a study published ...

Searching for a link between achy joints and rainy weather in a flood of data, researchers come up dry

December 13, 2017
Rainy weather has long been blamed for achy joints. Unjustly so, according to new research from Harvard Medical School. The analysis, published Dec. 13 in BMJ, found no relationship between rainfall and joint or back pain.

Mistletoe and (a large) wine: Seven-fold increase in wine glass size over 300 years

December 13, 2017
Our Georgian and Victorian ancestors probably celebrated Christmas with more modest wine consumption than we do today - if the size of their wine glasses are anything to go by. Researchers at the University of Cambridge have ...

How well can digital assistants answer questions on sex?

December 13, 2017
Google laptop searches seem to be better at finding quality online sexual health advice than digital assistants on smartphones, find experts in the Christmas issue of The BMJ.

Owning a pet does not seem to influence signs of aging

December 13, 2017
Owning a pet does not appear to slow the rate of ageing, as measured by standard indicators, suggest the authors of a study published in the Christmas issue of The BMJ.

Increased air pollution linked to bad teenage behavior

December 13, 2017
A new study linking higher levels of air pollution to increased teenage delinquency is a reminder of the importance of clean air and the need for more foliage in urban spaces, a Keck School of Medicine of USC researcher said.

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

NIPSZX
not rated yet Feb 22, 2017
All that the scientists would of had to do was invest in the stock market since Trump was elected and they would be set to retire. Very simple! Trumpflation! The stock market is up close to 20% since Trump's election win! Amazing! I guess that is why scientists are unhappy, because all of the money is flowing into businesses. Seriously though, it seems like most scientists would of had inside information so that they would put their money into investments. It really wouldn't of mattered what business they picked. Every sector of the stock market is up massively since Trump was elected! Personally, I think one of the reasons for the massive upside in stocks is because of the protests against Trump. Protest always move the stock market upward massively. Look at the Occupy Wall Street Protest, if you would have invested in stocks that day, you would have quadrupled your money by now, EASILY!

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.