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Associate Professor Patti Zettler, alum Annamarie Beckmeyer co-author article featured in New York Times

News Type Faculty
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Photo of Professor Zettler

In December of 2022, one of Associate Professor Patti Zettler’s articles, “Mifepristone, preemption, and public health federalism,” published in the Journal of Law and the Biosciences. Less than a month later, the article was cited in The New York Times, in a piece titled, “New Lawsuit Challenges State Bans on Abortion Pills.”

While it is not uncommon for the scholarly work of Ohio State faculty to be cited in articles in leading news sources like the Times, it was unusual in that one of Zettler’s co-authors, Annamarie Beckmeyer, is a former student of Zettler’s and a current medical student at Ohio State.

I find research often is improved by working with someone who has complementary expertise,” Zettler said. “In the roughly 4 years that I’ve been at Ohio State, my work has frequently been collaborative for this reason and one of the most rewarding parts of being at Ohio State is drawing on the phenomenal expertise of the faculty and students around campus. But this is the first time I have collaborated with a (former) student at Moritz.”

Beckmeyer, who is pursuing a career in obstetrics and gynecology, graduated from Moritz in May of 2022. She quickly developed a connection with Professor Zettler after taking one of her classes as a 1L.

“You try to identify professors or students who have similar interests to you. I had Professor Zettler for Torts. I knew she was an FDA expert and that overlapped with my interests,” Beckmeyer said. “When Professor Zettler has had opportunities to include me in projects, because of that relationship we have developed, it’s hard to turn that down.”

Zettler, who served as an associate chief counsel in the FDA’s Office of the Chief Counsel prior to her career in academia, has long studied FDA law, including the intersection of state and federal drug regulation.

“Over the past year or so, it became apparent that litigation regarding mifepristone, particularly once the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health Organization issued in June 2022, could have far-reaching implications for innovation in the pharmaceutical industry, and the regulation of all kinds of pharmaceuticals,” Zettler said. “Understanding these potential implications that could extend far beyond mifepristone is important for public health.”

“The legal questions about federal preemption of state pharmaceutical regulation can be complicated,” Beckmeyer added. “It is valuable for legal scholarship to help physicians understand the legal issues, and to explore the legal implications and potential changes that might result from litigation both for mifepristone and for other medicines.”

“Mifepristone, preemption, and public health federalism,” which is also co-authored by Beatrice L. Brown and Ameet Sarpatwari of the Program On Regulation, Therapeutics, And Law at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, was published in the Journal of Law and the Biosciences on December 21, 2022 and was cited by the Times just more than a month later.

The article is one of multiple articles about the potential public health impacts of various mifepristone lawsuits by Zettler, who has been cited by the Times, among other major media outlets, and recently authored an op-ed in The Hill.

“One of the reasons that faculty do our work is to help advance knowledge. One way we do that is in classroom, but the goal of scholarship is to create and further knowledge more generally,” she said. “When your scholarship is cited by a publication like the Times, I view that as an important outcome of the work. It’s an important way to inform the public, serve our communities, and serve Ohio State’s overall mission.”


News Type Faculty
News Topic