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What We're Reading: OTC Drugs; San Diego Hepatitis Outbreak; Catholic Hospitals


Congress May Reform FDA Oversight of OTC Drugs

The House Energy & Commerce committee is considering reforming the FDA’s process for over-the-counter (OTC) drugs. According to RAPS, a bill could create a new user fee program, which would increase funding for the FDA’s OTC program. Through the current program, OTC medicines conform to a monograph instead of undergoing individual review. A new proposal would let FDA collect an annual fee from OTC manufacturers and one-time fees for changing a monograph. Currently, annual funding for the OTC program is $8 million, but the agency expects it would collect $22 million in the first year under the new program.

San Diego Hepatitis Outbreak Claims 16 Lives

A hepatitis A outbreak in San Diego that was declared a local public health emergency on September 1 has caused 16 deaths. So far there are 421 confirmed cases and the number of hospitalizations has reached 292, reported the Los Angeles Times. The city has started a new sidewalk and street cleaning campaign using high-pressure sprayers with bleach-infused water, plus hand hygiene is being promoted to stem the outbreak. Since the incubation period for hepatitis A can be up to 50 days, it may take months to see signs of the effect of the campaign.

Rapid Growth of Catholic Hospitals in the US

Between 2001 and 2016, the number of Catholic-sponsored or Catholic-affiliated hospitals has increased by 22%, and the trend is impacting reproduction health. STAT reported that a study found the growth in Catholic hospitals has decreased rates of inpatient abortions, tubal ligations, or sterilization. The study found that there was not a statistically significant increase at Catholic hospitals in complications from miscarriages or sterilization procedures nor any effect on the number of caesarean sections performed. In 2016, 14.5% of all US acute care hospitals were Catholic-sponsored or Catholic-affiliated.

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