Day: March 4, 2007


FDA decides to breed super bugs

Well, what else can you say about it. This is insanely moronic. Read this sierra club release about the overuse of antibiotics brought on by the overcrowding of animals in food production factories (aka “farms”). Read the whole article and see how much everyone will be endangered so that Intervet, Inc. can make money.

FDA Rules Override Warnings About Drug –

The government is on track to approve a new antibiotic to treat a pneumonia-like disease in cattle, despite warnings from health groups and a majority of the agency’s own expert advisers that the decision will be dangerous for people. The drug, called cefquinome, belongs to a class of highly potent antibiotics that are among medicine’s last defenses against several serious human infections. No drug from that class has been approved in the United States for use in animals.

Note, a powerful and potent antibiotic that works well, but is not used much because it’s the last line of defense. But the drug company that manufactures this product cares little about long term efficacy. Their only goal is to maximize short term shareholder value. I don’t blame them, I blame the government for not doing its job, that is, to balance these short term and long term goals and protect the people that pay them a lot of money for this protection.

The wording of “Guidance for Industry #152” was crafted within the FDA after a long struggle. In the end, the agency adopted language that, for drugs like cefquinome, is more deferential to pharmaceutical companies than is recommended by the World Health Organization.

Cefquinome’s seemingly inexorable march to market shows how a few words in an obscure regulatory document can sway the government’s approach to protecting public health.

There’s a reason this present U.S government works in secrecy, so these “obscure” (I am sorry, but nothing that directly affects human health can be called obscure) rule changes will not hit the public eye before it’s too late. Apparently, the FDA can now only consider resistance to food borne diseases in considering an application. That’s like saying that a hospital will only treat victims of food borne diseases, so if you catch the cold, we won’t treat you! This is the Food and Drug Adminstration (all food and all drugs), not the food borne disease protection council.

This drug is absolutely unnecessary for the following reasons:

  1. The disease it treats (respiratory distress in cows) is brought about by insane levels of animal overcrowding
  2. There are currently a dozen antibiotics for this particular problem, none of which are considered susceptible to resistance
  3. The FDA has previous history with similar public health threats with fluoroquinolones
  4. This drug is considered a last resort drug for antibiotic resistant strains of diseases in cancer patients – So strains resistant to this drug will evolve shortly after the antibiotic is overexposed . This is a death sentence for a lot of very vulnerable people.
  5. A similar drug used in Europe for the last 10 years has resulted in an increase in resistant strains of bacteria.

This is what you get when you vote for an ideology that hates government. You get a government that hates itself and is busy pawning parts of itself off to its cronies.

Conflicts of Interest in Bisphenol A Decision Making

I have written about bisphenol A recently. It’s a chemical found in polycarbonate plastics that has been linked with some crazy effects in mice at ambient levels including disruption of oogenesis (egg production) and effects two generations removed (grandmother effects).

Public health agency linked to chemical industry – Los Angeles Times

For nearly a decade, a federal agency has been responsible for assessing the dangers that chemicals pose to reproductive health. But much of the agency’s work has been conducted by a private consulting company that has close ties to the chemical industry, including manufacturers of a compound in plastics that has been linked to reproductive damage.

In 1998, the Center for the Evaluation of Risks to Human Reproduction was established within the National Institutes of Health to assess the dangers of chemicals and help determine which ones should be regulated. Sciences International, an Alexandria, Va., consulting firm that has been funded by more than 50 industrial companies, has played a key role in the center’s activities, reviewing the risks of chemicals, preparing reports, and helping select members of its scientific review panel and setting their agendas, according to government and company documents.

This kind of work is too important to be left to contractors like Sciences International (however good they may be), which also has contracts with companies that manufacture and market products containing Bisphenol A. It’s very simple, most companies, for profit entities and even non-profits dependent on funding sources tend to maximize short term gain over long term good. While the political arm of the government does that as well, the institutions stable enough to do reliable work on policy issues that affect our long term well being are few in number. Government run research with stable funding, good employees and good management will do this work well, it’s a good match between the nature of the work and the nature of the organizations.

The ever excellent Pump Handle has more, I read their post as I was writing this one and so, nothing more to say, really, except, remember Children of Men! Fertility is not to be toyed with, any chemical that has the ability to affect egg production two generations down needs to be handled with care.