Day: July 5, 2007

EPA scales back rules on wetlands

Where for the n’th time, you get to use “EPA”, and “scales back rules” in one sentence.

E.P.A. Scaled Back Rules on Wetlands – New York Times

After a concerted lobbying effort by property developers, mine owners and farm groups, the Bush administration scaled back proposed guidelines for enforcing a key Supreme Court ruling governing protected wetlands and streams. The administration last fall prepared broad new rules for interpreting the decision, handed down by a divided Supreme Court in June 2006, that could have brought thousands of small streams and wetlands under the protection of the Clean Water Act of 1972. The draft guidelines, for example, would allow the government to protect marsh lands and temporary ponds that form during heavy rains if they could potentially affect water quality in a nearby navigable waterway. But just before the new guidelines were to be issued last September, they were pulled back in the face of objections from lobbyists and lawyers for groups concerned that the rules could lead to federal protection of isolated and insignificant swamps, potholes and ditches.

This is the consequence of a tortured Supreme Court ruling from June of last year where Justice Kennedy could not make up his mind on what was a wetland and what was not, so he helped hand down a very confusing verdict open to all kinds of interpretation. At that time, here’s what I said…

This will make things confusing for a while, and you all know who confusion favors!

Well, I told ya!


CNN Finds Indian Widows Ostracized – 200 years late on the story


Umm, CNN, not exactly headline or breaking news, is it? Raja Ram Mohan Roy crusaded against it in the 1800s, Deepa Mehta made a movie about it recently. So, why was this on my cnn front page? God knows…

Shunned from society, widows flock to city to die –

Ostracized by society, thousands of India’s widows flock to the holy city of Vrindavan waiting to die. They are found on side streets, hunched over with walking canes, their heads shaved and their pain etched by hundreds of deep wrinkles in their faces.


Brazil successfully hardballs Abbott on AIDs drug

I mentioned in May that Brazil had introduced compulsory licensing on a Merck AIDs drug Efavirenz, and heartily recommended that Brazil and other third world countries continue to play hardball with big pharma whenever they could. It looks like Merck decided to not bargain, but Abbott did on Kaletra. Note that Abbott got into a similar controversy with Thailand, and agreed to drop the price when Thailand rejected the Kaletra patent.

Keep it coming, third world countries. Bargaining is perfectly acceptable in the marketplace!

Brazil says Abbott to cut price of AIDS drug | Health | Reuters

razil’s health ministry said Wednesday that Abbott Laboratories Inc. agreed to cut the price of its Kaletra AIDS drug by 29.5 percent.

The lower price for the drug, also known as lopinavir and ritonavir, will help Brazil supply free drugs for its AIDS treatment program.

In May, President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva authorized Brazil for the first time to break the patent on an AIDS drug, one made by Merck & Co.. It then started importing a generic version of the drug Efavirenz from India.

Under WTO rules, countries can issue a “compulsory license” to manufacture or buy generic versions of patented drugs deemed critical to public health.

Drug makers often reduce prices to keep countries as clients and avoid compulsory licenses.


FDA and European regulators in information sharing agreement on food

Good, I guess. The Europeans demand a lot of testing on their food, and if they can share information with the FDA on general trends, and even specific batches of food ingredients, the FDa gets a lot of information without having to setup any kind of infrastructure, or have manufacturers scream at them for insisting they perform tests they’re already performing for the European market!

In regulation, the strictest one eventually wins as long as it has enough of a market that it cannot be boycotted/ignored.

FDA inks deal with Europeans over food safety | Health | Reuters

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said on Monday it signed a pact with European regulators to share more information about the safety of the food supply.

The FDA said the agreement with the European Food Safety Authority would pave the way for formally sharing confidential scientific information and that it would help protect confidential information under both regions’ laws.