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Drug Safety

WORLD
July 11, 2007 | Mark Magnier, Times Staff Writer
The heightened anger and fear felt by average Chinese over the safety of food ingredients, medicine and other consumer products were vividly on display here Tuesday after the execution of the former head of China's food and drug safety agency. Within hours of an announcement that Zheng Xiaoyu, 62, had been put to death for taking bribes from pharmaceutical companies, China's Internet lighted up. "Good job!" said an anonymous posting on Sina.com, a major Chinese Web portal.
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WORLD
July 10, 2007 | From Times Wire Reports
China's former drug and food safety watchdog chief was executed today after being found guilty of corruption and dereliction of duty amid a series of food and drug safety scandals, the New China News Agency said. The Supreme People's Court approved the death sentence for Zheng Xiaoyu, 62, who was convicted of taking bribes worth about $850,000 from eight companies. Zheng, head of the State Food and Drug Administration from 1998 to 2005, was sentenced May 29 and his appeal was heard last month.
SCIENCE
May 22, 2007 | Karen Kaplan and Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar, Times Staff Writers
A widely prescribed drug to treat Type 2 diabetes substantially increases the risk of heart attacks and death from cardiovascular disease, according to a study released today that critics say questions the government's ability to monitor drug safety. Patients who took Avandia to reduce their blood sugar levels were 43% more likely to have a heart attack than patients who were given other medications or a placebo.
OPINION
May 13, 2007
The Senate's passage of a drug-safety bill (May 10) expanding the authority of the Food and Drug Administration will benefit the public. Before passage, an unsuccessful effort for a provision allowing consumers to buy drugs from foreign sources produced contentious debate. Why? Such a provision would undermine the original intent of the bill: drug safety. When will politicians in Washington understand that foreign sources are not regulated by the FDA? Inspections of drug purchases made abroad have revealed dangerous bogus copies that place our prescription-drug supply chain in jeopardy.
NATIONAL
May 10, 2007 | Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar, Times Staff Writer
The Senate overwhelmingly approved a landmark drug safety bill Wednesday, doubling the number of government scientists assigned to ferret out risky side effects in medicines already on the market. The measure also would create a computerized network to scan medical insurance and pharmacy records for signs of trouble with new drugs, and significantly expand the Food and Drug Administration's power to require drug makers to reduce risks.
NATIONAL
May 4, 2007 | Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar, Times Staff Writer
The Senate, giving a boost to a measure long favored by congressional Democrats, opened the door Thursday to letting American consumers save money on prescription medicines by ordering them from Canada and other developed countries where prices are lower. But the move could have an unintended side effect -- derailing a long-awaited, bipartisan effort to improve the Food and Drug Administration's faltering system for protecting patients from potentially dangerous medications.
BUSINESS
March 1, 2007 | Daniel Costello, Times Staff Writer
Some doctors say they have begun curtailing use of one of the nation's most popular cancer drugs, erythropoietin, after four studies released since January have shown it may increase the risk of death in some patients. The medication, also called EPO, stimulates the body's production of oxygen-carrying red blood cells and is used to treat anemia caused by chemotherapy or kidney failure.
NATIONAL
January 31, 2007 | Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar, Times Staff Writer
The Food and Drug Administration pledged Tuesday to make major changes in the nation's drug safety system, responding to a blue-ribbon panel that last fall found the agency's priorities skewed toward approving new medications without adequate follow-up to identify rare but risky side effects. FDA Commissioner Andrew C.
NATIONAL
September 23, 2006 | Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar and Denise Gellene, Times Staff Writers
The government's drug safety system is seriously out of balance, devoting too much attention to approving new medications and not enough follow-up to uncovering risky side effects, a blue-ribbon scientific panel concluded in a major report released Friday. Convened at the request of the Food and Drug Administration after a popular painkiller was linked to heart attacks, the experts in medicine, pharmacology, law and other fields issued a sweeping call for reform.
OPINION
April 25, 2006 | Shannon Brownlee, SHANNON BROWNLEE is a Bernard L. Schwartz senior fellow at the New America Foundation.
ONLY 9% OF American adults think the pharmaceutical industry is trustworthy, according to a recent Harris poll. That means that the makers of lifesaving and life-enhancing drugs rank just above tobacco companies in the public's esteem. How could this happen? Easily.
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