What We're Reading: Gottlieb Calls for THC Vape Ban; Tackling Drug Shortages; Air Pollution and Miscarriages

October 15, 2019

Former FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb called for the ban of THC-based vaping products; machine learning tested to prevent drug shortages; study finds link between air pollution and miscarriages in China.

Former FDA Commissioner Calls for Ban of THC-Based Vaping Products

Machine Learning Tested by Drugmaker to Prevent Drug Shortages

Study Links Air Pollution to Miscarriages in China

Yesterday, former FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb called for the ban of THC-based vaping products, due to its correlation to the vaping-related illness epidemic occurring nationwide. The Hill reports that Gottlieb additionally proposed a new approach to regulate marijuana, noting that a blanket ban on marijuana was no longer possible. The CDC reported that a majority of affected people in the epidemic reported vaping THC products, particularly those who bought products from informal sources. So far, public health officials have not conclusively linked the vaping disease to THC, warranting further analyses into the vaping epidemic.Germany-based pharmaceuticals company Merck KGaA announced plans to use analytics and machine learning to predict and prevent drug shortages, according to The Wall Street Journal. The move, which can additionally save the company money, will aim to ease the stockpiling of medications that can cause some supplies to expire before they are used. The company’s healthcare division plans to start testing a cloud-based software designed by TraceLink Inc. later this year. TraceLink Inc., based out of North Reading, Massachusetts, can analyze data points in real time from various organizations within Merck’s supply chain, including pharmacies, hospitals, and wholesale distributors.A study conducted by researchers in China has found a significant link between air pollution and the risk of miscarriage, reported the The New York Times. The Chinese government has been trying to increase the national birth rate amid a rapidly aging population, however, rates reached its lowest level last year since 1949. Air pollution has long plagued Chinese cities, with issues such as respiratory diseases, strokes, and heart attacks attributed to heightened exposure. Lead author Zhang Liqiang noted that further research is needed to ascertain the exact link between different pollutants and the risk of miscarriage, but outside experts nevertheless agree that the findings highlight the negative effect of air pollution on the health of pregnant women and their fetuses.