Quick Hits: Interim FDA Head Named, Inactive Ingredients in Drugs and Allergic Reactions & More

Quick Hits: Transvaginal Mesh Pulled, New Weight Loss Drug & More

The Trump administration has named Ned Sharpless, MD, currently director of the National Cancer Institute (NCI), to become the interim head of the FDA. Sharpless is expected to take the top position at the FDA when current FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, MD, steps down in a matter of weeks. Last week, Gottlieb made a surprise announcement that he would be resigning to spend more time with his family. Sharpless has held the top position at the NCI since October 2017. He also runs the National Institute on Aging Laboratory of Genetics and Genomics’ aging biology and cancer section. Although Sharpless has been named interim FDA commissioner and Gottlieb’s successor will need to be confirmed by the Senate, there are indications Sharpless may be nominated as the permanent commissioner since Gottlieb favors him as his successor. Posted March 12, 2019. Via The New York Times.

Patients should be aware that most drugs contain inactive ingredients that may cause an allergic reaction. An analysis of more than 42,000 medications found they contained almost 360,000 inactive ingredients. Researchers found that 38 of those ingredients can cause an allergic reaction, and 93% of medications had at least one of them. Lactose was the most common allergen found in medications; 45% of the medications contained sugar. About a third of the drugs contained food dye, another substance that can cause an allergic reaction. Researchers say healthcare professionals should advise their patients not just about allergies to medications, but also to inactive ingredients that may cause an allergic reaction. Posted March 13, 2019. Via Science Translational Medicine.

The FDA has released proposed rules that would severely restrict the sales of flavored e-cigarettes as part of the agency’s efforts to combat youth smoking. The rules would limit sales of flavored vaping pods to websites, vape shops and other stores that can ensure age restrictions are enforced. FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb also noted that the agency could even remove certain flavors from sale if it felt that were being marketed specifically to underage customers. In addition, the FDA has moved up by a year the date that manufacturers of electronic nicotine delivery system (ENDS) products to submit applications to keep their products in the market, to August 8, 2021. Posted March 13, 2019. Via FDA.

Jonathan Block

Jonathan Block is a freelance writer and former MedShadow content editor. He has been an editor and writer for multiple pharmaceutical, health and medical publications, including BioCentury, The Pink Sheet, Modern Healthcare, Health Plan Week and Psychiatry Advisor. He holds a BA from Tufts University and is earning an MPH with a focus on health policy from the CUNY Graduate School of Public Health & Health Policy.

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