What’s the latest in healthcare, August 24

August 24, 2009 by  
Filed under HEALTHCARE

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world_stet2To start the week, I bring you the latest updates on healthcare.

What’s bad?

Heparin conflict-of-interest investigation of FDA drug director; FDA device chief resigns
Scandals and conflicts of interests are hounding the US FDA and giving the body’s commissioner Margaret Hamburg a lot of cleaning up to do.
Case 1: Dr Dan Shultz, director of the Center for Devices and Radiological Health (CDRH) is stepping down from his post. The medical device department of the FDA has been under scrutiny since last year following allegations of corruption.
Case 2: The Wall Street Journal reports that Janet Woodcock, head of FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research is being investigated for conflict of interest in connection with the approval of the generic version of the heparin Lovenox of Sanofi-Aventis. The complaint was put forward by Amphastar, who is developing another generic blood thinner.

What’s good?

AHRQ Releases Guides to Help Pregnant Women and Doctors Compare Treatments for Gestational Diabetes
The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) has issued new guides for the treatment of gestational diabetes. However, the guides come in two versions – one for the doctors and one for the patients. This way, the patients can make informed decisions about the different treatment options.

What’s new?

American Red Cross Adds Five New Celebrity Volunteers
The American Red Cross is happy to welcome five new celebrities into its National Celebrity Cabinet. The new supporters will donate their time and efforts not only during emergencies but to prepare others for emergencies and disasters. They are:

  • Julianne Hough, country singer and professional ballroom dancer
  • Anika Noni Rose, Tony Award-winning actress and singer (“The Princess and the Frog”)
  • Demi Lovato, recording artists and TV star
  • Sally Pressman, actress (Lifetime’s “Army Wives”)
  • Amanda Peet, actress (Important Things with Demetri Martin)

What’s being celebrated?

August 19 was World Humanitarian Day
Last Wednesday, Augustt 19 was World Humanitarian Day, a day dedicated to pay tribute to humanitarian aid workers who work to help during emergencies, be they caused by natural disasters or armed conflicts. These workers often put their lives at risk. Thus, it is also a day to remember those workers who lost their lives in service of humanity.

What’s contaminated?

Cocaine Contaminates Majority of U.S. Currency
90% of US dollar bills tested was found to contain traces of the illegal drug cocaine. This is up from 67% two years ago.. Levels of cocaine ranged from .006 micrograms to more than 1,240 micrograms-the equivalent of 50 grains of sand-on U.S. bills, and $5, $10 and $20 bills on average carried more contamination than $1 or $100 bills. The bills were sample from 18 US cities and Washington, Baltimore, Boston and Detroit have the highest levels. Other currencies which tested with high levels were Canadian dollars (85%) and Brazilian reals (80%). The rate of contamination is due to the prevalent use of rolled up bills to snort cocaine powder.

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