New regs for Tuesday: Health parity, drug labeling rules to be published

The Federal Register isn’t being published on Monday, since the federal government is formally closed in recognition of Veterans Day. A number of agencies announced new rules on Friday, though, that will be published later this week.

Here’s a look:

Mental health:

The Obama administration is finalizing regulations that require insurance companies to provide equal treatment for mental health and substance abuse disorders. 

The overhaul, announced on Friday, is the last of the 23 executive actions to reduce gun violence the president unveiled in January, in the wake of the Newtown, Conn., shooting. 

The new regulations, which are being jointly issued by the Departments of Health and Human Services, Labor and the Internal Revenue Service, make sure that mental health and substance abuse treatment is comparable to medical or surgical care.

Drones:

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is responding to the 152 comments about its proposed rules to protect Americans’ privacy with the increasing use of drones. 

The plans cover non-military drones, which FAA head Michael Huerta said on Thursday were “inherently different” than commercial planes, and require operators of test sites to have a written policy for treating any data they acquire. 

Congress is requiring the agency to develop a plan to increase the use of drones in the country by 2015. Non-military drones are sometimes used by police and other law enforcement groups.

Drugs:

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is publishing a proposal to make it easier for generic drug manufacturers to update their safety labels. 

Currently, the drugs are restricted from updating their labels until receiving FDA approval, even if they become aware of risks or hazards from the drugs. The new rules would let generic pharmaceutical makers update their labels and then seek approval from the FDA afterwards. Brand name drugs can already update their safety information before the FDA signs off. 

Fishing:

National fishing regulators is halting fishing for gag and blue runner in the Atlantic this week to prevent overfishing. Regulators are also prohibiting some vessels from fishing for yellowfin sole in the Bering Sea.