By Hyeongsu Park and Kathy Wang
- The Food and Drug Administration last Friday proposed two sweeping rules aimed at preventing the contamination of produce and processed foods. Changes include requirements for better record keeping, measures to prevent the spread of contaminants in the first place, and contingency plans for handling outbreaks.
- An Institute of Medicine (IOM) review of California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM), the state’s prominent center for stem cell research, called for sweeping changes to reduce potential conflicts of interest and an external scientific advisory board.
- Eli Lilly and Co. failed to test a drug diethylstilbestrol (DEs)’s effect on fetuses before promoting it as a drug that prevents miscarriages, a lawyer charged in opening statements in a trial over whether four sisters’ breast cancer was caused by medication their mother took during pregnancy in the 1950s. On Thursday, Eli Lilly and Co. settled the case.
- Boston declared a public health emergency Wednesday morning as flu season struck in earnest and the state reported 18 deaths from flu. Health officials have confirmed 700 cases of flu in the city, 10 times the total number for the previous flu season.
- The Supreme Court is considering whether police must get a warrant to obtain blood samples in drunk-driving investigations. Justices heard arguments Wednesday in a case involving a disputed blood test from Missouri. Prosecutors in the state, supported by the federal government, urged the Court to allow police to conduct a blood test on an unwilling drunk-driving suspect without a warrant. A decision is expected by summer. The case is Missouri v. McNeely, No. 11-1425.
- On Thursday, after laboratory studies and driving tests confirming the risks of drowsiness, the Food and Drug Administration recommended that women should lower doses of sleep aids containing the active ingredient zolpidem. The recommendation was focused on women because they take longer to metabolize the drug than men.
- Contrary to the goal of the Obama administration’s health care law, health insurance companies obtained double-digit increases in premiums for some customers such as small businesses and people without employer-provided insurance.