Public/Global Health

Public/Global Health

Lawmakers strike agreement on compounding pharmacy regulation

Health policy leaders in the House and Senate announced an agreement on legislation to strengthen regulation of non-traditional compounding pharmacies, which have been tied to several deadly outbreaks in the last year.

Lawmakers said the new bill would apply uniform national standards to pharmacy compounding while enacting a track-and-trace system to ensure drugs are safe throughout the supply chain.

Currently, a patchwork of state and federal regulations complicates oversight of drug compounders, who either customize medications on a prescription-by-prescription basis or produce drugs in large quantities like a manufacturer. 

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CDC says anti-smoking campaign helped 200K kick habit

Federal health officials on Monday said more than 200,000 people quit smoking as a result of a graphic anti-tobacco campaign, about four times the expected number.

The "Tips from Former Smokers" effort featured bold images of people disfigured by tobacco use and prompted nearly 1.6 million people to try to quit smoking, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

The campaign began last year with cable and local television ads revealing the health consequences of smoking and secondhand smoke.

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Federal survey shows heroin use up significantly

Heroin use has risen significantly since 2007, presenting a challenge to officials seeking to cut illicit drug abuse, according to a new federal survey.

The number of people who reported using heroin in the past month jumped from 373,000 in 2007 to 669,000 in 2012, according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health.

The nearly 80 percent increase was accompanied by an uptick in the overall use of illicit drugs, with 8.1 percent of people ages 12 and older reporting use in 2008 compared with 9.2 percent in 2012.

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Study predicts 113 million US obesity cases by 2022

The United States will have 133 million obese and 81 million overweight residents by the year 2022, leading the trend of growing waistlines across the developed world, a new study predicted.

London-based consulting firm GlobalData attributed the expected uptick to sedentary lifestyles combined with high-calorie diets. Obesity has been identified in the United States as a growing epidemic that will dramatically strain the healthcare system.

Altogether, eight leading developed countries and Brazil will see an increase in obesity cases from about 167 million last year to 213 million by 2022, GlobalData said. 

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Health agency laments 'alarming' substance abuse among US teens

The number of U.S. adolescents that drink alcohol or smoke cigarettes or marijuana on an average day is "alarming," a federal health agency said Thursday.

In a new report, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) found that about 882,000 young people between ages 12 and 17 smoke cigarettes on the average day, along with 458,000 and 645,000 that use alcohol and marijuana, respectively.

While alcohol use among teens has been in decline since the 1980s, marijuana use has experienced steady growth. The declines in teen cigarette smoking has also slowed in recent years. 

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Bloomberg accuses Obama of caving to Big Tobacco

New York City Mayor Bloomberg on Friday criticized President Obama for bowing to pressure from the tobacco industry in a scathing op-ed in The New York Times.

Bloomberg expressed disappointment in the Obama administration for dumping a “safe harbor” provision under a pending Pacific trade deal that would protect domestic tobacco-control measures around the world from legal challenges.

“The Obama administration appears to be on the verge of bowing to pressure from a powerful special-interest group, the tobacco industry, in a move that would be a colossal public health mistake and potentially contribute to the deaths of tens of millions of people around the world,” Bloomberg wrote.

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Cardin praises FDA for effort on health disparities

Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) applauded the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Tuesday for a new plan to alert doctors that certain patient subgroups might react differently to drugs and medical devices.

A report released by the FDA this month outlines best practices for issuing safety alerts and other notices related to the health and safety risks of certain medical products.

The document and a related communications plan is now open to public comment. 

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