What We’re Reading: Purdue Settlement Delay Rejected; Social Security Checks to Increase; FDA Lowers Sodium Targets

A federal judge denied a bid to stall the implementation of Purdue Pharma’s bankruptcy plan; Social Security checks are expected to increase in 2022; the FDA has released guidelines for the food industry aimed at lowering sodium levels.

Judge Denies Delay for Purdue Pharma Settlement

A federal judge in New York denied the US Justice Department's bid to halt the implementation of a controversial bankruptcy plan for Purdue Pharma, the maker of Oxycontin (oxycodone), as reported by NPR. During a hearing earlier this week, Judge Colleen McMahon expressed support for the pause until the deal could be reviewed, citing significant legal concerns regarding the settlement that warrant a review by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals. However, her new ruling also says that work on the settlement, valued between $5 billion $10 billion, can go forward. In addition, she ordered supporters of the plan to enter written agreements that they will not attempt to block an appeal using the equitable mootness argument.

Social Security Checks Expected to Increase in 2022

The Social Security Administration has announced that recipients will receive almost a 6% increase in benefits in 2022. According to NBC News, the boost will affect nearly 70 million people and is fueled by a spike in inflation caused by supply chain bottlenecks, worker shortages, and other economic disruptions that emerged as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Recently published data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics showed that prices rose by 5.4% on an annualized basis in September 2021 and the inflation rate rose a seasonally adjusted 0.4% in September, from August 2021. The government said that beneficiaries should receive a notice detailing their increased payments for 2022 in December 2021.

FDA Lowers Sodium Recommendations for Food Industry

A report from The Associated Press says that the FDA updated its guidelines for the food industry, with the aim of lowering sodium levels in dozens of foods, including condiments, cereals, french fries, and potato chips. The voluntary goals for 163 food categories are projected to help lower the amount of salt that people eat, which mostly comes from packaged or restaurant foods, making it difficult for people to make changes on their own. To ensure that people get used to lower sodium intakes, the FDA said the reductions should be gradual and across the entire food supply, so people don’t keep reaching for higher-sodium options. The FDA’s target is to cut the average sodium intake by 12%, reducing consumption from 3400 to 3000 mg/day, over the next 2.5 years.