Weekly Roundup – 9-22-06

J0400652It’s Friday.  Time to take off our boots, put our feet up and engage in the Weekly Roundup. 

One can tell in Washington, D.C. that the seasons are in flux – the front page of the Washington Post is once again carrying over-sized photographs and stories about the Washington Redskins on the front page of the paper- above the fold, apparently overlooking the fact that there is a perfectly suitable Sports Section for that purpose.  This seems to happen every year and raises the question as to why they don’t put fashion news above the fold on the first page?  But, it is a harbinger of autumn – an annoying one, but one just the same. 

Here’s what happened this week. 

  • Dr. von Eschenbach Nomination – The nomination moved out of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee on Wednesday with approval for Dr. von Eschenbach.  There are still two holds on the nomination from Senators Vitter and DeMint.  Given the fact that the FDA has rarely, if ever, had such a need for a full-fledged commissioner, one hopes they will see reason and lift those holds. 
  • New HIV Testing Recommendations – The CDC, which by the way, is having is own troubles, issued a recommendation on HIV testing that represents a big departure from the past by recommending universal HIV testing.  While not FDA news, it is such a significant healthcare development, it bears mentioning.  For years, routine testing was resisted by the HIV community.  The idea is to capture the elusive – those who do not know they are infected – and get them into treatment. 
  • E-Coli Source Narrowed – The FDA issued a statement that they had narrowed the source of the e-coli outbreak to three counties in California.  The length of time between the initial outbreak (late August) and narrowing it down this far raises important questions as to how vulnerable the food supply is to tampering and detection and whether or not there is any way to narrow the window.  The number of cases has risen to 157. 
  • Botulism in Carrot Juice – While spinach commands all the attention, the FDA also reported that there were three cases of botulism from carrot juice, probably due to improper refrigeration.  It has been a tough week for vegetarians. 

News that didn’t happen – there is still no word on the adaptive clinical trials conference slated for mid-November.  While I had hoped to post that as soon as it happens, circumstances next week make that impossible, therefore I encourage you to watch the FDA web site closely for news next week. 

Have a good weekend everyone. 

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