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SCIENCE
October 31, 2013 | By Monte Morin
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced Thursday that it was stepping up efforts to prevent and address prescription drug shortages, calling the shortfalls a significant public health threat. In addition to expanding early reporting requirements for drug manufacturers, the FDA said it was launching a smartphone app that would give consumers instant information on pharmaceutical shortages. "The complex issues of drug shortages continues to be a high priority for the FDA, and early notification is a critical tool that helps mitigate or prevent looming shortages," said Dr. Janet Woodcock, director of the FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research.
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BUSINESS
October 21, 2013 | David Lazarus
Think you can keep a medical condition secret from life insurers by paying cash for prescription meds? Think again. A for-profit service called ScriptCheck exists to rat you out regardless of how diligent you are in trying to keep a sensitive matter under wraps. ScriptCheck, offered by ExamOne, a subsidiary of Quest Diagnostics, is yet another example of data mining - using sophisticated programs to scour databases in search of people's personal information and then selling that info to interested parties.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
October 17, 2013 | By Hailey Branson-Potts
An Orange County doctor who often saw patients at Starbucks coffeehouses was sentenced Thursday to 11 years in federal prison for selling prescriptions for highly abused medications to patients with no legitimate need for them. "You abused the position," U.S. District Judge Andrew J. Guilford told Alvin Ming-Czech Yee before sentencing him. "People came to you for healing, and they came away worse for the experience. " Yee, 44, of Mission Viejo, pleaded guilty in April to seven counts of illegal distribution of a controlled substance by a practitioner.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
October 15, 2013 | By Scott Glover and Lisa Girion
A Southern California pain doctor who was featured in a 2012 Times investigative article on patient overdose deaths was arrested Tuesday on seven counts of illegally prescribing narcotics and other widely abused drugs. Dr. John Dimowo is charged with prescribing Vicodin, Norco, Adderall and Xanax to undercover agents who pretended to be patients but had no legitimate need for the drugs. Dimowo was not charged in connection with any patient deaths. The Times reported in November that five of Dimowo's patients fatally overdosed on medications he prescribed between 2009 and 2010, coroner's records show.
BUSINESS
October 4, 2013 | By Andrea Chang
Google Glass has been hogging the spotlight when it comes to eyewear, but get ready to see new technology designed for those stuck with old-fashioned prescription eyeglasses. About 64% of Americans wear glasses to improve vision. Many can't stand them, complaining that glasses are cumbersome, headache-inducing or don't work in all situations. Meanwhile, the growing amount of time people spend in front of computers and mobile devices has also raised concern about the potential damaging effects on eyesight.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
October 3, 2013 | By Ari Bloomekatz
Ventura County authorities have arrested 21 people in connection with alleged sales of prescription drugs via Craigslist.  The arrests, announced this week, took place in recent months and stemmed from illegal sales of drugs like Adderall, OxyContin and Xanax, according to the Ventura County Sheriff's Office. Among those arrested was a man who allegedly sold pain medication prescribed for his cancer-patient father, a woman who authorities said drove from Fontana to Simi Valley with two children in the car for a drug transaction, and a 19-year-old who allegedly sold Suboxone, a narcotic, just filling a prescription for it. About half of those arrested got their prescriptions from an Oxnard physician, 63-year-old Kiansi Boni of Camarillo, who was also arrested, authorities said.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
September 27, 2013 | By Scott Glover and Lisa Girion
Gov. Jerry Brown signed two bills Friday aimed at curbing prescription drug abuse but vetoed a third that could have helped the state's medical board identify reckless doctors whose patients died on pills they prescribed. The three bills, which garnered strong bipartisan support, were spurred by a series of investigative reports in The Times that linked drugs prescribed by doctors to nearly half the prescription-involved overdose deaths in Southern California from 2006 through 2011.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
September 19, 2013 | By Lisa Girion and Scott Glover
The ad on Craigslist was blunt. It offered drugs for money, just like a street corner dealer. The seller was hawking Norco, a popular painkiller, for $6. "Had a left over bottle from a car accident," the anonymous seller posted. "I'm not the police," the seller wrote. "You shouldn't be either. " If two lawmakers have their way, Craigslist - the popular online marketplace - will get rid of such ads. If the website fails to so, they warned, it may be getting a lot more attention from the police.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
September 16, 2013
Join us at 9 a.m. when we talk with Times reporter Scott Glover about three bills related to drug prescriptions awaiting Gov. Jerry Brown's signature. Last week, state lawmakers passed an ambitious slate of reforms aimed at giving authorities better tools and broader powers to crack down on doctors who recklessly prescribe narcotic painkillers and other commonly abused drugs. The three bills, which garnered strong bipartisan support, await a signature from Brown  that would make them law. Brown, who as attorney general railed against prescription drug abuse and pill-pushing doctors, declined through a spokesman to say how he would respond to the bills.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
September 15, 2013 | By Scott Glover and Lisa Girion
Since her son Joey fatally overdosed in late 2009, April Rovero has warned schoolchildren, coeds, cops and congressmen that it was too easy for the 21-year-old college student to get the prescription drugs that killed him. In speeches from Sacramento to Washington, she complained bitterly that authorities had suspected a Rowland Heights doctor of reckless prescribing for years but did little to stop her. Rovero's son was one of at least eight...
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