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FDA finds safety issues at specialty pharmacies

April 12, 2013 11:29 am | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

The Food and Drug Administration says it has uncovered potential safety problems at 30 specialty pharmacies that were inspected in the wake of a recent outbreak of meningitis caused by contaminated drugs. The agency said its inspectors targeted 31 compounding pharmacies that produce sterile drugs, which must be prepared under highly sanitary conditions.

New world strategy aims to eradicate polio by 2018

April 2, 2013 5:44 pm | by LAURAN NEERGAARD - AP Medical Writer - Associated Press | News | Comments

A new global plan aims to end most cases of polio by late next year, and essentially eradicate the paralyzing disease by 2018 — if authorities can raise the $5.5 billion needed to do the work, health officials said Tuesday. Part of the challenge will be increasing security for vaccine workers who have come under attack in two of the hardest-hit countries. And the plan calls for changing how much of the world protects against polio, phasing out the long-used oral vaccine in favor of a pricier but safer shot version.

Obama proposes $100M for brain mapping project

April 2, 2013 12:35 pm | by Nedra Pickler, Associated Press | News | Comments

President Barack Obama on Tuesday asked Congress to spend $100 million next year on a new project to map the human brain in hopes of eventually finding cures for disorders like Alzheimer's, epilepsy and traumatic injuries. The BRAIN Initiative, he said, could create jobs and eventually lead to answers to ailments including Parkinson's and autism and help reverse the effect of a stroke.

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Researchers seek to reduce deafening jet engine noise

March 25, 2013 11:59 am | News | Comments

Have you ever had a fighter jet fly over your home and the noise of the aircraft booms loud enough to rattle the windows? Imagine working on an aircraft carrier or air base, up close to the engines as they take off or land. Several U.S.-based research teams, with the support of the Office of Naval Research, have been tasked with finding a way to reduce that deafening noise as part of a three-year project.

China wrestles with cost of cleaner environment

March 13, 2013 5:19 pm | by Joe McDonald, AP Business Writer | News | Comments

Facing public outrage over smog-choked cities and filthy rivers, China's leaders are promising to clean up the country's neglected environment—a pledge that sets up a clash with political pressures to keep economic growth strong.

Ground-level ozone falling faster than model predicted

March 11, 2013 1:32 pm | News | Comments

According to a recent study from Rice University and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, there is good news and better news about ground-level ozone in American cities. While dangerous ozone levels have fallen in places that clamp down on emissions from vehicles and industry, the report suggests that a model widely used to predict the impact of remediation efforts has been too conservative. 

India rejects Bayer plea against cheap cancer drug

March 5, 2013 10:15 am | by Nirmala George, Associated Press | News | Comments

India's patent appeals office has rejected Bayer AG's plea to stop the production of a cheaper generic version of a patented cancer drug in a ruling that health groups say is an important precedent for getting inexpensive lifesaving medicines to the poor. Bayer sells a one month supply of the drug for about $5,600. Natco's version would cost Indian patients $175 a month, less than 1/30th as much.

U.S. warns of new fake batch of cancer drug Avastin

February 6, 2013 12:25 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

The Food and Drug Administration is warning U.S. doctors about another counterfeit version of the cancer drug Avastin, the third case involving the best-selling Roche drug in the past year. The FDA said in an online post Tuesday that at least one batch of the drug distributed by a New York company does not contain the active ingredient in real Avastin, which is used to treat cancers of the colon, lung, kidney, and brain.

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Safety testing system proposed for development of new chemicals

December 10, 2012 7:59 am | by Jocelyn Duffy, CMU | News | Comments

Claiming that recent product recalls and bans indicate that product manufacturers do not have adequate tools for identifying and avoiding the use of harmful chemicals in their products, a group of scientists from North America and Europe has developed a five-tiered testing system that manufacturers can use to ensure that the consumer products they produce are free of endocrine disrupting chemicals like BPA or DDT.

Gene-altered mosquitoes could be used vs. dengue

December 6, 2012 9:26 am | by Jennifer Kay, Associated Press | News | Comments

Mosquito control officials in the Florida Keys are waiting for the federal government to sign off on an experiment that would release hundreds of thousands of genetically modified mosquitoes to reduce the risk of dengue fever in the tourist town of Key West. If approved by the Food and Drug Administration, it would be the first such experiment in the U.S. Some residents, however, are worried about the risks.

Fast-growing fish may never wind up on your plate

December 5, 2012 10:45 am | by Matthew Perrone, AP Health Writer | News | Comments

After weathering concerns about everything from the safety of humans eating the salmon to their impact on the environment, Aquabounty was in a position to become the world's first company to sell fish whose DNA has been altered to speed up growth. But after positive feedback from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2010, the agency still has not approved the fish and the company could soon run out of money.

Emerging vector-borne diseases create public health challenge

November 30, 2012 10:35 am | News | Comments

A series of papers published recently in the journal The Lancet are calling attention to the rapid spread of vector-borne, zoonotic diseases such as West Nile virus, dengue fever, and Lyme disease. These diseases, spread to humans by animals like mosquitos and ticks, are advancing as a result of urbanization, land use, and more intensive agricultural practices.

Many home couches contain potentially toxic flame retardants

November 28, 2012 12:28 pm | News | Comments

Scientists are reporting an increasing use of flame retardants in the main gathering spot for adults, children and family pets in the home—the couch. In recent study, Heather Stapleton and colleagues describe the first efforts to detect and identify the flame retardants applied to the foam inside couches found in millions of family rooms and living rooms across the U.S.

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Bioethics panel urges more gene privacy protection

October 11, 2012 5:53 pm | by Lauran Neergaard, AP Medical Writer | News | Comments

A presidential commission found that it is legally possible in about half of U.S. states to decode a person’s DNA from a sample without their knowledge. Such information could be used to predict what diseases lurk in the person’s future. Although such whole genome sequencing is too costly now to permit abuse, the collision of privacy and genetics is prompting calls for action.

Gas drilling research suffers from lack of funding

August 2, 2012 10:28 am | by Kevin Begos, Associated Press | News | Comments

Is gas drilling ruining the air, polluting water and making people sick? The evidence is sketchy and inconclusive, but a lack of serious funding is delaying efforts to resolve those pressing questions and creating a vacuum that could lead to a crush of lawsuits, some experts say.

23andMe seeks FDA approval for personal DNA test

August 1, 2012 3:24 am | by Matthew Perrone, AP Health Writer | News | Comments

For years, the Silicon Valley company has resisted government regulation, arguing that it simply provides consumers with information, not a medical service. Genetic test maker 23andMe, however, is now asking the Food and Drug Administration to approve its personalized DNA test in a move that, if successful, could boost acceptance of technology that is viewed skeptically by leading scientists who question its usefulness.

Federal panel supports Kansas biosecurity lab project

July 15, 2012 2:20 pm | by John Milburn, Associated Press | News | Comments

A government-backed committee of the National Research Council issued a report Friday saying the United States would have adequate biosecurity protections even if plans for a proposed $1.14 billion lab in Kansas are scaled back.

FDA panel sees little use for metal-on-metal hips

July 2, 2012 6:38 am | by Matthew Perrone, AP Health Writer | News | Comments

Government health experts said Thursday there are few reasons to continue using metal-on-metal hip implants, amid growing evidence that the devices can break down early and expose patients to dangerous metallic particles. The devices were originally marketed as a longer-lasting alternative to older ceramic and plastic models. But recent data from the U.K. and other foreign countries suggests they are more likely to deteriorate.

Scientists: Earth faces impending tipping point

June 7, 2012 5:42 am | by Robert Sanders | News | Comments

A recently published review paper by 22 internationally known scientists contains data that suggests that within just a few human generations there will be a reduction in biodiversity and severe impacts on much of what we depend on to sustain our quality of life. Part of their research gauges how plants and animals respond to major shifts in the atmosphere, oceans, and climate.

More doctors are ditching the old prescription pad

May 18, 2012 6:33 am | by Lauran Neergaard, AP Medical Writer | News | Comments

The U.S. government has been pushing doctors to e-prescribe, in part because it can be safer for patients. Now, more than a third of the nation's prescriptions now are electronic, and starting this year, holdouts will start to see cuts in their Medicare payments.

FDA advisers recommend approving weight loss drug

May 11, 2012 9:35 am | by Linda A. Johnson, AP Business Writer | News | Comments

Advisers to government health regulators late Thursday recommended that they approve sales of what would be the first new prescription weight-loss drug in the U.S. in more than a decade, despite concerns over cardiac risks.

FDA review favors first drug for HIV prevention

May 9, 2012 5:32 am | by Matthew Perrone, AP Health Writer | News | Comments

A pill that has long been used to treat HIV has moved one step closer to becoming the first drug approved to prevent healthy people from becoming infected with the virus that causes AIDS. The Food and Drug Administration said Tuesday that Gilead Sciences' Truvada appears to be safe and effective for HIV prevention.

First of two papers on lab-made bird flu published

May 3, 2012 5:09 am | by Malcolm Ritter, AP Science Writer | News | Comments

Four months ago the U.S. government sought to block publication of two studies about how scientists created an easily spread form of bird flu. Now a revised version of one paper is seeing the light of day with the government's blessing. The second paper, which is more controversial because it involves what appears to be a more dangerous virus, is expected to be published later.

Nanotechnology meets safety, ethics in medical community

April 30, 2012 3:50 am | News | Comments

Engineers are developing new and innovative ways of coating medical materials with nano-sized particles of silver, an element that has long been known for its antimicrobial properties. However, a recent paper from the University of Notre Dame highlights the fact that a vast majority of bacteria are actually neutral, or even beneficial. Overuse of nanosilver might harm their useful functions in daily life, the paper reports.

FDA issues draft guidance on nanotechnology

April 22, 2012 1:41 pm | News | Comments

The U.S. government has issued its initial draft guidelines on the use of nanotechnology, particularly nanoparticles, in food and cosmetic products. These recommendations, intended to help guarantee consumer safety within these two industries, do not extend to the other products that fall under Food and Drug Administration oversights, such as drugs and medical devices.

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