By: Cheryl Jacobs Smith, Ph.D.
First 3D-printed drug approved by FDA
In an unprecedented move, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a prescription pill formulated using 3-D printing. The drug, Spritam levetiracetam, will be used to treat seizures that arise in people suffering from epilepsy. The drug’s manufacturer, Aprecia Pharmaceuticals, says it creates the pill using a 3-D printing process which adds layers upon layer to the pill until the right dosage is reached. Using 3-D printing technology, the manufacturer claims that the pill is more readily dissolved after oral administration thereby delivering a higher dosage of medicine to the patient efficiently and quickly. “As a result, Spritam enhances the patient experience – administration of even the largest strengths of levetiracetam with just a sip of liquid,” Aprecia said in a statement on Monday. “In addition, with Spritam there is no measuring required as each dose is individually packaged, making it easy to carry this treatment on the go.” Be prepared to see more medical manufacturers using this approach to not only produce new drugs but to also use this technique for tissue regeneration, bone replacements, and even prosthetics. (Hope King, CNN Money)
What you need to know about Obama’s biggest global warming move yet — the Clean Power Plan
On Monday, President Obama unveiled a major climate change plan called the Clean Power Plan. What is the Clean Power Plan? This is a ‘plan’ of regulation advanced by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under the Clean Air Act that strives to cut carbon dioxide emissions from U.S. power plants 32 percent below their 2005 levels by the year 2030. Although federally mandated, this regulation allows states to make their own cuts due to the diversity in energy needs across the U.S. This legislation is stricter than the existing Clean Air Act and the finalized plan can be found on the White House fact sheet. Here, it outlines that although the Clean Power Plan is stricter than the Clean Air Act, the new legislation adds two extra years to get started on cutting emissions. A clear difference is that the Clean Power Plan does not rely upon natural gas as a source for electricity generation. Rather, the Clean Power Plan incentivizes “early deployment of renewable energy and energy efficiency.” Many see this as a push back from the Administration to slow down the switch to natural gas and promote other renewable resources for energy. The U.S., along with other nations, has promised, as part of the United Nations climate negotiations, to reduce total emissions by 2025 to 26-28 percent below 2005 levels. The newly released Clean Power Plan will be a key component of getting there. (Chris Mooney, The Washington Post)
Government Science and Public Access
Reporters See Barriers to Science Information at Federal Agencies
The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) released a new report on August 4, “Mediated Access,” that found that journalists find it hard to keep the public informed about government science due to barriers put in place by federal agencies. The journalists identified difficulty in conducting interviews with scientists because agency public information officers would frequently sit in on the interviews making open conversation more difficult. Additionally, pre-approval rules put in place by government agencies often required science writers/journalists to submit questions beforehand. In some cases the interviews were denied or interview questions evaded. “Federal agency scientists set policies that affect the air we breathe, the water we drink, the food we eat and the products we buy,” said Dr. Andrew Rosenberg, director of the Center for Science and Democracy. “When agencies limit access to those scientists, the public loses. We need better media policies and better practices to make sure scientists can share the work they’re doing in a clear, straightforward way.” Perhaps not only government agencies should increase their transparency regarding scientific and medical issues. This rhetoric is even more applicable amidst the Planned Parenthood controversy over aborted fetal tissue. Many argue that increased Planned Parenthood visibility would allow the public to have input regarding fetal tissue distribution and research. Agencies should strive to increase transparency to the public maintaining the integrity and safety of the working place. (Union of Concerned Scientists)
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