- White House Offers More Money For Food and Drug Safety
- New HIV Infections Outpace Treatment
- Kennedy Leaves Hospital After Brain Surgery
- U.S. Supreme Court Takes Third Look at Case Against Cigarette Maker
- Law Hasn't Reduced Teen Drivers' Cell Phone Use
Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by editors of HealthDay:
White House Offers More Money For Food and Drug Safety
A significant boost in U.S. government funding to ensure the safety of food and drug imports was proposed Monday by the Bush administration. It wants to add $275 million to the $2.4 billion budget it initially proposed for the Food and Drug Administration during the next fiscal year. That would make the 2009 FDA budget 18 percent higher than the 2008 budget, the Baltimore Sun said.
Federal officials said the extra money would help pay for basing inspectors abroad, increasing the number of inspections, and modernizing computer systems, the Sun reported.
In a conference call with reporters Monday night, FDA Commissioner Andrew C. von Eschenbach said the agency would be able to hire 490 more employees with the new funding.
The Bush administration has been under pressure from Democrats and a coalition of industry, consumer and medical groups to increase the FDA budget. In March, the Senate voted to give the FDA an added $375 million, the Sun reported.
Democrats have alleged that White House underfunding of the FDA was responsible for the lethal contamination of imported pet food ingredients and a widely-used blood-thinning drug.
New HIV Infections Outpace Treatment
The number of people becoming infected with HIV is far higher than those beginning treatment with antiretroviral drugs, according to United Nations officials. HIV is the virus that causes AIDS.
Last year, 2.5 million people were infected with HIV, while 1 million started using antiretroviral drugs, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told world leaders on the first of several days of U.N. debate on AIDS prevention, the Associated Press reported.
"Unless greater and swifter advances are made in reaching those who need essential services, the epidemic's burden on households, communities and societies will continue to mount," Ban said.
According to U.N. figures, at least 33 million worldwide are infected with HIV and about 2.1 million people died of AIDS last year, the AP reported.
Kennedy Leaves Hospital After Brain Surgery
One week after he underwent surgery for brain cancer, Sen. Edward M. Kennedy was released Monday from Duke University Medical Center and returned to his home in Hyannisport on Cape Cod, the Associated Press reported.
"It's good to be home, good to be here," the wire service quoted him as saying.
Last month, Kennedy was diagnosed with a malignant glioma brain tumor after he suffered a seizure. Last Monday, he had a 3.5-hour operation to remove as much of the tumor as possible to improve the success of chemotherapy and radiation treatment that he will undergo.
About 9,000 Americans have malignant gliomas diagnosed each year, the AP said. It's among the worst types of brain cancer.
U.S. Supreme Court Takes Third Look at Judgment Against Cigarette Maker
The U.S. Supreme Court will review a $79.5 million punitive judgment against Marlboro-maker Philip Morris for a third time, the Associated Press reported Monday.
On two previous occasions, the Supreme Court has struck down the award to the family of a Portland, Ore. man who died of lung cancer in 1997 after smoking Marlboro cigarettes since the 1950s.
But Oregon courts have repeatedly upheld the judgment against cigarette maker Philip Morris USA.
In its first decision, the Supreme Court rejected the $79.5 million judgment. In its second decision, the high court ruled that jurors may punish a defendant only for harm done to someone who is suing, not other smokers who could make similar claims.
In the upcoming review, scheduled to take place in the fall, the high court will consider whether the Oregon Supreme Court ignored the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling, but not whether the amount of the judgment is constitutionally permissible, the AP reported.