News you can use: health & drug safety updates


  • July 21, 2000
    Detailed draft standards for both format and content of written information have been developed by USP (U.S. Pharmacopeia). They are based on the “Action Plan for the Provision of Useful Prescription Medicine Information,” developed by NCPIE coalition members and other organizations in late 1996; and on USP-commissioned research to assess USP’s own patient information leaflets. Comments are due at USP by 11 August 2000.
  • July 5, 2000
    University of Michigan physicians, while noting that many psychiatric illnesses “hamper communication,” have found that a positive patient-physician relationship is especially important even during brief medication checks. Originally presented at the American Psychiatric Association annual meeting (May 2000), the research is summarized in JAMA.
  • June 28, 2000
    Nearly half of cancer patients are using unconvential medical therapies, but they only disclose that information to physicians if specifically asked about alternate therapies, notes the short brief, “Do Ask, Do Tell” in today’s Journal of the AMA.
  • May 23, 2000
    The AARP surveyed over 1300 adults about print (not broadcast) direct-to- consumer (DTC) pharmaceutical advertisements. They found that 66% of people surveyed in the 18-39 age group noticed the “small print” information about risks and side effects, compared to only 48% of consumers age 60 and older. In another part of their survey, while over half of all consumers said that their physicians “usually” talk to them about product risks or potential side effects, 17% of respondents age 60 and older reported “rarely” having such conversations.
  • April 19, 2000
    In late March, the FDA co-sponsored with the National Patient Safety Foundation a workshop for consumer and patient organizations (including NCPIE) to promote more direct patient involvement in their own medical care. NCPIE’s emphasis on consumers' role on their “Medicine Education Team” fits perfectly with the workshop message.
  • April 1, 2000
    The May 2000 cover story of Consumer Reports, entitled, “The Mainstreaming of Alternative Medicine,” features results of a comprehensive survey of nearly 50,000 CR readers. They evaluated the helpfulness of many remedies (prescription and non-prescription medicines, certain herbal medicines, diet, lifestyle changes, chiropractic treatment, acupuncture, etc.) for 10 common medical conditions. Reprints of the article (#R0178) are available for $3 each directly from the publisher.
  • April 1, 2000
    A summary and transcripts of FDA’s Feb. 29-March 1 workshop on a Univ. of Wisconsin assessment of written patient leaflets distributed in 300 community pharmacies is available on FDA’s website. This assessment is the first and most comprehensive evaluation of written information against the criteria developed by NCPIE and other stakeholders in the Action Plan for the Provision of Useful Prescription Drug Information.
  • April 1, 2000
    Extensive prescription drug utilization and economic data for Medicare beneficiaries are available in a new report to President Clinton issued by the Department of Health and Human Services.
  • March 31, 2000
    NCPIE is accepting nominations for its Paul G. Rogers / NCPIE Medication Communicator Awards Program. The deadline is June 30, 2000. The program is open to individuals, organizations, businesses, and government agencies. Click here to view the awards.
  • March 24, 2000
    FDA Commissioner Jane Henney, M.D., testified before the U.S. Senate about ensuring safe on-line pharmaceutical purchasing. Consumer tips, warnings and enforcement information are provided via FDA’s dedicated web pages, “Buying Medical Products On-Line."