Welcome to this month’s edition of Comp Medical News. Hog slaughter outrage, naloxone, and cannabis health claims are your headlines for September 2019.
FDA Emphasizes its Commitment to Naloxone in Statement
In observation of Prescription Opioid and Heroin Epidemic Awareness Week at the end of September, acting FDA head Norman E. “Ned” Sharpless MD issued a statement about naloxone access and the agency’s goals to distribute the opioid overdose reversal drug. Sharpless explains in the statement that naloxone access remains limited in some communities even though many states have allowed people to access naloxone with a standing order or a pharmacist’s prescription.
Read more here.
Workers’ Advocates Criticize New Hog Slaughter Rules
The Department of Agriculture updated its safety and inspection rules for the first time in 50 years. The revisions will allow meat processors to slaughter and process hogs as quickly as they want, as well as allowing meatpackers to use their own employees rather than USDA inspectors to remove tainted meat from production lines. The changes were sought by the meat industry, but have spiked concern from food safety advocates and workers’ advocates. Workers’ advocates have argued that if companies are allowed to speed production, injuries and mistakes will become more common in an already dangerous business.
Read more from Reuters here.
FTC Warns Cannabis Producers
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued a warning to three companies making health claims about CBD products. According to the FTC’s press release, “each company has advertised that its CBD products treat or cure serious diseases and health conditions. One company’s website claims CBD ‘works like magic’ to relieve ‘even the most agonizing pain’ better than prescription opioid painkillers.” One of the companies also claimed that CBD can cure cancer and Alzheimer’s, assertions with no real clinical basis.
Read more here.
Weight Loss Improves Outcomes in Total Knee Replacements
A new study published in the Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery, found that morbidly obese patients who lost 20 pounds before total knee arthroplasty (TKA) had improved outcomes by several measures. Researchers looked at patients that lost five, ten, and 20 pounds before surgery. The five and ten pound groups showed minimal differences, but the 20 pound group reduced their hospital stay by one day and had a 76 percent reduction in the likelihood of an extended hospital stay after surgery.
Read more MedPage Today here.
FDA Meeting on Future Opioids Faces Harsh Rebuke from Some Advocates
The FDA held a public meeting about guidance for new opioid painkiller approvals which faced criticism from all sides. Patient advocates said the proposal will stymie options for chronic pain patients who are already finding access to care problems, while others said the guidance will not do much to curb the opioid crisis. The guidance was released in June and affects new drug applications. The most substantive change is that the FDA will now consider “the broader public health effect of opioid analgesic drugs” in its decision, as well as weigh elements of the application that are intended to prevent abuse, such as abuse deterrent properties of the drug’s chemical makeup.
Read more from MedPage Today here.
Vox Highlights Struggles of Home Health Care Workers in New Feature
Vox shadowed a home health care aide for a new feature about the struggles of workers in one of the fastest growing jobs in the country – elderly care. Vox notes that the economy is expected to create an additional 1.2 million positions for home health aides by 2026 but that the sector has few protections for workers. Home health aides are excluded from many labor laws that govern other jobs, like the federal minimum wage and overtime pay.
Read more here.
Image Credit: Hormel meatpackers strike in 1985, Austin, Minnesota | Austin Daily Herald via MPR