News you can use: health & drug safety updates


  • July 19, 2004
    FDA investigators who shopped for “generic” pharmaceuticals at a purported Canadian website found substandard or altered products across the board. Safety checks such as refusing to provide a pharmaceutical product that would have put the user at risk, given their self-disclosed list of current medications, were also lacking. The FDA “shopped” at a website advertising generic productsfor brand- name pharmaceuticals for which no generics have been approved. Once the purchased products arrived at the FDA, they underwent laboratory testing and
  • June 21, 2004
    As You Age...A Guide to Aging, Medicines, and Alcohol is a new brochure developed collaboratively by the Food and Drug Administration and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. "Medicine and alcohol misuse can happen unintentionally,” notes the brochure, which includes a chart for listing instructions about medicines currently used.
  • June 21, 2004
    “Take With Care” is a new National Consumers League campaign urging consumers to use caution when taking over-the-counter (OTC) pain relievers. Announced June 10 in New York City, NCL is partnering with the Food and Drug Administration on outreach efforts and materials.
  • April 8, 2004
    Calling the issue of health literacy a “very unappreciated problem,” the Institute of Medicine, along with the federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, issued separate reports today addressing the 90 million Americans who have lower than average health literacy. “Health Literacy: A Prescription to End Confusion,” is the IOM report; “Literacy and Health Outcomes” is the AHRQ evidence report. The American Medical Association also joined the IOM and AHRQ at
  • April 8, 2004
    Appropriate use of medicines, particularly by seniors, is the mission of a new coalition launched by the National Consumers League, whose President, Linda Golodner, serves as NCPIE’s Chair. “SOS (Senior outpatient safety) Rx” was launched to specifically (1) address safe use of the blood-thinner warfarin, (2) develop a universal patient medication record, (3) develop standards for electronic prescribing, and (4) build an on-line clearinghouse of safe medicine practices. NCPIE and many NCPIE members are participating in SOS Rx.
  • April 1, 2004
    See: “Handle with Care” From April 2004 – very comprehensive article about our Be MedWise Campaign
  • February 19, 2004
    The Food and Drug Administration issued yesterday a task force report that identifies steps that the FDA, other government agencies, and the private sector could take to minimize the risks to the public from counterfeit medicines. For example, the report notes that the FDA will re-introduce its public awareness campaign that promotes safe on-line purchasing of pharmaceuticals. NCPIE is an original and current partner of FDA on this “CybeRx Safety” campaign. Also, the report notes that consumers “should be educated to be aware of
  • February 13, 2004
    Working together with NCPIE and many other health groups, the Food and Drug Administration recently issued “Tips for Older Dietary Supplement Users.” The on- line brochure includes questions-to-ask health professionals before using dietary supplements, and it features a handy form to keep track of all dietary supplements taken. This new tool, the FDA notes, will help older consumers “become better informed about how dietary supplement decisions can affect their health.”
  • January 27, 2004
    Every two years, the FDA conducts a national telephone survey of patient information distributed with prescription medicines, at physicians' offices and at pharmacies. The FDA today issued a call for comments on their proposed 2004 survey, which will assess both oral and written medicine information conveyed with prescriptions. NCPIE will submit comments as part of our convener role for the Consumer Medicine Information (CMI) Initiative. Comments are due to the FDA by March 29, 2004.
  • January 22, 2004
    The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today launched an educational campaign that promotes safe use of over-the-counter (OTC) pain relievers, specifically those that contain acetaminophen and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. FDA Commissioner Mark McClellan, M.D., urged, “Read labels carefully, be sure you are getting the proper dose, and check with your doctor or pharmacist to be sure that you use these drugs safely.” These new FDA messages reinforce those of NCPIE’s "Be MedWise" campaign, launched in 2002 with FDA