Weekly Roundup – 3/25/11

Congress has been gone this week which has made the local commute quite bearable, though one has to wonder how they could all take off when they haven’t finished a budget for this fiscal year.  Spring here is being threatened by the onset of a snowfall scheduled for this weekend, in spite of the fact that the tulip trees are blooming and the hyacinths are up. In short, everything is just off here….

In the meantime, here is a bit of what happened in our world:

  • FDA Approves Merck’s Shingles Vaccine – Merck’s Zostavax, a live attenuated virus vaccine, for the prevention of shingles was approved today by the FDA for use in individuals 50 to 59 years of age. Zostavax is already approved for use in individuals 60 years of age and older.
  • FDA Puts Up Web Page on Radiation Safety – The FDA put up a dedicated part of its labyrinth Web site to the issue of radiation safety in the wake of the unfolding disaster in Japan and did so in a comprehensive and timely manner, though the agency failed to communicate its availability by press release and I’m not sure whether they tweeted it or not.  In any case, here it is.
  • FDA Holding Public Hearing on Food Imports and SafetyThis upcoming meeting to be held on March 30-31 would have already been of some interest because it is going to address issues related to the implementation of the Food Safety and Modernization Act and the thing of interest there is not only how the FDA will implement import provisions, but to see whether or not the agency talks about how it would do it if the Act is not funded, either in whole or in part, by a cheap Congress.  However, the importance of the meeting should be enhanced by the issue of imports during a time of nuclear crisis as well.  (Correction – after publication, this comment was received that clarifies the subject matter and timing – The public hearing on March 30-31 is “Ensuring the Safety of Imported Foods and Animal Feed: Comparability of Food Safety Systems and Import Practices of Foreign Countries”
    It is the public meeting on March 29 that will address “FDA Food Safety Modernization Act: A New Paradigm for Importers.” – Many thanks to the reader providing the correction.)
  • Digital Pharma Europe – The Digital Pharma EU conference will be held this week in Germany.  Last year I had the pleasure of attending and got to meet a lot of great people, including Dr. Berci Mesko, author of Science Roll and incomparable curator of information at Webicina, who gave the prize talk of the conference.  I am very sorry to say I will not be there this week, and if you are like me, you may want to follow the tweets from the conference.  If so, the hashtag is #digpharm.

That’s it for me this week folks.  Have a great weekend and enjoy Spring wherever you are, even if it does snow a bit…. And oh, Congress, please come back and do the job for which you are being paid.

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