- FDA Cuts Inspections of Labs Testing Medical Devices
- HIV/AIDS Deadliest Infectious Disease in China
- Food Banks Discarding Thousands of Pounds of Recalled Food
- Counterfeit Toothbrushes Pose Choking Hazard
- U.K. Confirms First Case of Human Mad Cow Disease in Hemophilia Patient
Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by editors of HealthDay:
FDA Cuts Inspections of Labs Testing Medical Devices
Enforcement of federal quality regulations at labs that develop medical devices has been scaled back by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, according to a Project on Government Oversight report.
The independent watchdog group found that FDA inspections of "good laboratory practices" at facilities that do early testing of medical devices such as pacemakers, stents and imaging machines declined from 33 in 2005, to seven in 2007, to one in 2008, the Associated Press reported. No FDA inspections are planned for this year.
"The decision ... to not enforce [lab standards] is stunning in its contempt for the protection of patients," the group said in its report.
By focusing its enforcement on clinical trials that involve people, and not on early medical device testing in labs, the FDA says it can make better use of scarce resources and still protect the public, the AP reported.
Critics disagree. "This decision ... may result in an irreversible cascade of adverse consequences to the protection of the public," the Society of Quality Assurance said in a letter to Congress.
HIV/AIDS Deadliest Infectious Disease in China
HIV/AIDS is now the leading infectious disease-related cause of death in China, according to the state news agency Xinhua .
Between January and September 2008, AIDS killed 6,897 people. Since China reported its the first AIDS death in 1985, 34,864 people have died of the disease, caused by HIV infection. Previously the third deadliest infectious disease in the country, HIV/AIDS is now followed by tuberculosis, rabies, hepatitis and infant tetanus, according to a Xinhua reported cited by the Associated Press.
The Chinese news agency said Ministry of Health figures show that the number of confirmed HIV infections increased from 135,630 in 2005 to 264,302 from January to September 2008.
The actual number of HIV-infected people in China may actually be about 700,000, according to government and outside estimates, the AP reported. The discrepancy between official and estimated numbers is due in part to people's reluctance to be tested for HIV. The government estimates that 85,000 of those 700,000 people have full-blown AIDS.
Food Banks Throwing Out Thousands of Pounds of Recalled Food
U.S. food banks are throwing out thousands of pounds of food products recalled in the nationwide salmonella outbreak linked to Peanut Corp. of America.
The discarded products include peanut butter, cereals, cookies, nut mixes and granola bars, items which are vital to food banks because of their long shelf life and durability, the Associated Press reported.
The Houston Food Bank has thrown out 3,000 pounds of recalled products. The Cleveland Food Clinic has tossed out 1,000 pounds of food and has put another several thousands pounds of food on snacks on hold until the recall list is finalized. More than 1,300 pounds of food has been discarded or quarantined at the Food Finders Food Bank Inc. in Lafayette, Ind.
"At a time when food banks are struggling, everything inevitably has an impact," Karen Ponza, spokeswoman for the Cleveland Food Clinic, told the AP.
So far, more than 1,900 products have been recalled due to the salmonella outbreak, which has sickened nearly 600 people and caused nine deaths.
Counterfeit Toothbrushes Pose Choking Hazard
Counterfeit toothbrushes that pose a choking hazard have been distributed across Canada and consumers should check their toothbrushes to make sure they're authentic, says Health Canada.
The agency said it has received at least one report of a counterfeit product's bristles becoming dislodged and caught in a person's throat, CBC News reported.