What We're Reading: Drug Side Effect Database; West Nile Virus in LA; Illinois Abortion Law

FDA Improves Side Effects Database

The FDA is improving its online database of reported side effects to make it more easily searchable. According to Bloomberg, the changes will make the database searchable by product, patient age, type of side effect, or year it occurred. The hope is that increasing transparency with this database will encourage patients and doctors to submit more detailed reports about adverse events experienced with medications.

LA Battles Growing West Nile Infections

While Los Angeles County is facing a growing hepatitis A outbreak, there is also an increasing number of cases of West Nile virus popping up. Cases of the disease have spiked this fall with 6 deaths reported for the entire year and half of those in just the last week, reported STAT. The county is trying to get a better idea of where the virus is and, so far, one of the best ways to find the infection is through sentinel chickens, which contract the virus, but don’t get sick or spread it.

Illinois Legislation Expands Medicaid Coverage for Abortions

The Republican governor of Illinois has signed a bill into law that would allow state health insurance and Medicaid coverage for abortions. The measure was approved by the Democrat-run legislature. Democrats argue all women should have access to abortion services, while Republicans oppose the idea of having taxpayers fund the procedure, which they find morally objectionable, explained The New York Times. The state estimates that providing abortions under the new law, which takes effect immediately, will cost taxpayers $1.8 million annually. The decision for was difficult for the governor, who is seeking reelection in 2018 and faced criticism from his own party.

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