What We're Reading: HHS Budget Cuts; Online Drug Reviews; Harmful Eye Injections

Trump Outlines Budget Directions for HHS, Other Health Agencies

President Donald Trump released a preliminary federal budget that would substantially reduce funding for HHS, the National Institutes of Health, and other health programs. Funds for HHS would be cut by $12.6 billion, representing the largest decrease in the proposed budget. However, it would also provide more money for opioid prevention and treatment programs by $500 million and maintain the level of funding for health and nutrition grants to aid low-income women, infants, and children.

Online Reviews Exaggerate Benefits of Over-the-Counter Drugs

A new study has found that reviews of over-the-counter medications on drug rating websites tend to report far greater positive effects than those described in the medical literature. For instance, one drug’s reviews indicated an average cholesterol reduction more than 3 times the size found in randomized controlled trials. Researchers explained that people with positive outcomes are more inclined to share their experiences, and cautioned patients not to believe everything they read on the internet.

Patients Suffer Permanent Eye Damage After Stem-Cell Injections

Three women seeking a treatment for macular degeneration underwent a procedure that caused severe, permanent damage to their vision and left one completely blind. According to the New York Times, clinicians suctioned fat out of the women’s midsections, then separated out stem cells from this fat and injected it into their eyes. Health officials are now warning the public to avoid unregulated stem-cell therapies not approved by the FDA.