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Fifth Alabamian infected with mosquito-borne Chikungunya virus

A Jefferson County, Ala., woman has become the fifth Alabamian to contract the mosquito-borne Chikungunya virus, and state health officials are cautiously concerned that the disease may become a problem in the United States if the trend continues. The Cikungunya virus is spread by the Asian Tiger mosquito, which is prevalent in the Caribbean, Asia and Africa. The mosquitoes have been traveling just off the American coast but have not yet reached the United States. The first Alabamian to develop Cikungunya likely contracted the virus while visiting Haiti. The virus causes symptoms such as fever, headaches, severe joint pain and rash. It ... Read More

Johnson & Johnson recalls 32 million packs of birth control pills

Johnson & Johnson has issued another massive recall, this time on 32 million packages of birth control pills because of a flaw that could cause unplanned pregnancies. The oral contraceptives are sold in 43 countries around the world, but not in the United States. This recall is one of about 40 the consumer health product giant has issued on everything from over-the-counter medications to artificial hips since 2009. The recall was initiated because quality tests performed on the drugs showed one of the two hormones in the pills was releasing slower than it should. The company said the risk of ... Read More

Lawmakers call for rule requiring drugs be made in U.S.

Lawmakers’ concern over the U.S. becoming too reliant on foreign countries to produce drugs are calling for a rule to require certain drugs to be made or stockpiled in the U.S., according to the New York Times. The Times quotes Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio as saying that relying on other countries to produce our country’s medicines opens the door to “supply disruptions, counterfeit medicines, even bio-terrorism.” Such is the case with the blood thinner heparin, which last year was the focus of much scrutiny when 80 Americans died and hundreds more were sickened after receiving doses of heparin manufactured ... Read More

Europeans now dependent on China for Panadol, Tylenol

Rhodia SA, a leading producer of paracentamol drugs Panadol and Tylenol, will close its factory in France this week, leaving Europe completely dependent on imports for that drug, according to Bloomberg. Rhodia says it is dropping out of the $800 million paracentamol business because of stiff competition from Asian producers who can export the same product at a fraction of the cost. The news is a double-blow for Europeans, not only for the 43 employees who lost their jobs, but for consumers who have expressed concerns about the quality of drugs and other products made and manufactured in China. Products ... Read More

Researchers find new method to detect contaminant in heparin

Researchers have come up with an easy and effective method to detect contaminates in heparin, according to the Times of the Internet. A research team led from the University of Michigan and led by Mark Meyerhoff uses potentiometric polyanion sensors to detect heparin in blood. These sensors also can be used to distinguish pure heparin from heparin contaminated with small quantities of oversulfated chondroitin sulfate. This new method is easier and less expensive than analytical methods used previously, such as nuclear magnetic resonance and capillary electrophoresis. Meyerhoff and his team detailed the research in the journal of Analytical Chemistry. Oversulfated ... Read More