KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

Views On Meningitis Outbreak: FDA Says It Is Working To Contain Risks; USA Today Says Regulators Had ‘Ample Warning Of The Potential Risks’

USA Today: FDA: Law Limits Oversight Of Compounding Pharmacies
The ongoing meningitis outbreak and its impact on patients and their families is a tragedy, and our hearts go out to the patients and their families who have suffered as a result of these events. The FDA's top priority is to fully contain the health risks associated with the outbreak as quickly as possible, and we will continue to work tirelessly to do so (Deborah M. Autor, 10/17). 

USA Today: Our View: Meningitis Death Were Avoidable
Since the outbreak, the now-shuttered pharmacy has recalled all of its products. Federal and Massachusetts regulators are scrambling to investigate. The Food and Drug Administration and some lawmakers are calling for stricter oversight of drug compounders, which is long overdue. But the tragedy should have come as no surprise to regulators or Congress or to the International Academy of Compounding Pharmacists, the industry group that beat back stricter regulation in the past. All of them had ample warning of the potential risks in an industry that most people had never heard of until deaths started piling up this month (10/17).

The New York Times: A Schizophrenic On Death Row
The Florida Supreme Court decided on Wednesday that the state can proceed with the execution next week of a 64-year-old inmate named John Ferguson. His lawyers immediately said that they will ask the United States Supreme Court to stay the execution and to review the case on grounds that Mr. Ferguson is mentally incompetent and that executing him would violate his constitutional rights as defined by the court in two earlier decisions. The court must review the case. At issue are not only Mr. Ferguson’s life but also two differing interpretations of what constitutes competence: one Florida’s, the other the Supreme Court’s (10/17).

The Lund Report: Fluoridation Referendum Leaves Decision In Voters' Hands
There is one main benefit of Clean Water Portland's successful signature-gathering campaign to qualify for a city-wide referendum vote on fluoridation: It allows time for citizens to make an informed decision. Take the question of fluoridation's effectiveness. Proponents often say there are "thousands" of studies showing this. The number itself is questionable but the quality is the larger issue. The York (UK) University 1990 Report found zero fluoridation studies merited a Grade A for quality and only six longitudinal studies a Grade B or C. The vast majority were inferior (Rick North, 10/17).

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