Petrie-Flom Intern’s Weekly Round-Up: 11/17-11/24

By Chloe Reichel

1) Following the legalization of medical marijuana in Massachusetts, 100 groups have applied for dispensary licenses. No more than thirty-five licenses are available within the state.

2) The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development has released their annual survey, which ranks thirty-four countries on different health-related criteria. The United States was placed at twenty-six on the life expectancy ranking.

3) A recent survey conducted by the Pew Research Center has discovered that Americans’ attitudes toward end-of-life care are increasingly in favor of doctors taking all possible courses of action in order to prolong life. This statistic has jumped from 15% in 1990 to 31% in 2013.

4) This Thursday, President Obama signed into law a bill that reverses the ban on letting HIV-infected people donate their organs after death.  The ban had been in place since the National Organ Transplant Act of 1984.

5) Americans with health insurance plans that fall below the ACA’s standards may be allowed to retain their policies, but insurance companies will be required to send letters informing these subscribers of their options, including the federal insurance marketplace, prior to renewal of these plans. The letters will also need to warn subscribers of the plans’ deficiencies.

6) The FDA has issued a warning on two drugs used in cardiac stress tests that are linked to incidence of heart attacks. These drugs are used in patients who have significant difficulty exercising, in order to promote the heart’s blood flow.

7) Products including the external cardiac compressor are in use in hospitals across the nation despite a lack of FDA approval. The products predate the start of the FDA’s device regulation program, and some are considered high-risk but have never been tested by the FDA.