Weekly Roundup 11.20.15

The cranberries have been bought and so have the clementines. The cream cheese for the pumpkin cheese cake is in the fridge along with the sausage and green apples for the cornbread stuffing. The turkey is on order for pickup on Tuesday. The menus are planned. My favorite holiday of the year is about to begin!

But it seems that there are others who were getting ready to leave for the holiday and got a lot of stuff out of the door – in other words, there is a lot to report on of interest in the Weekly Roundup.

  • FDA Takes Action on Genetically Engineered Foods – Let’s start with a big one. This week FDA announced several actions related to genetically engineered foods in general and to genetically engineered salmon in particular. Starting with the salmon, FDA declared genetically engineered salmon as safe and set up a part of the FDA site with pages on that topic with a number of documents supporting their position stated in the headline saying that genetically engineered salmon is just as safe as non-genetically engineered salmon. This is the first approval for a genetically engineered animal intended for food. While the safety position of FDA may be true, a number of people might like to know anyway if the salmon they are eating has been genetically engineered. In that regard, the agency further announced via a draft guidance document that such labeling would be voluntary. Finally there was a guidance document on voluntary labeling for foods that been derived from genetically engineered plants.
  • FDA Approves Nasal Spray to Treat Opioid Overdose – With overdose deaths from overdose of opioids on the rise in the U.S., naloxone hydrochloride has played a role in saving lives.  When injected by syringe or auto-injector by a first responder or a family member, it can save a life of a person who has overdosed. With FDA’s approval of a nasal spray formation, an alternative to injection becomes available. The product, Narcan was approved via fast track and priority review.
  • NIH Announces No More Chimp ResearchNIH announced that while recognizing that research involving non-human primates plays an important role in the development of new treatments, NIH followed up on its 2013 announcement to reduce research involving chimpanzees and reduce the NIH colony to 50 by stating that the remaining chimps would be retired. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service designated chimpanzees as endangered in June of this year.
  • CDC Report on STDs Released – The New is Not Good – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released its report on the transmission of sexually transmitted diseases in the U.S. The topline is not good news. There were rises across the board for chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphillis – with chlamydia cases clocking in at a rate of 456 per 100,000 people, a total of 1.4 million. The increases were particularly noted among men.
  • IMS Releases Report on Global Medicine Use – The IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics released its report on the use of medicine around the world. The report is a global examination of markets in terms of access and spending levels. Using access to medicines as a marker for access to healthcare it is reported that a huge increase in access more medicines around the world and looking as far as 2020 predicts a continued increase for the future.

That’s it for me this week folks. The world has been a harsh place of late, but there is still much to give thanks for. Have a wonderful, warm, safe and thoughtful Thanksgiving. (No Weekly Roundup next week.)

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