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Last Updated
September 18, 2014
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June 18, 2014
FDA Advises Pharma Companies On Social Media Issues
FDA issued two draft guidance for prescription drug manufacturers and distributors on dealing with
social media platforms, concerning space limitations and correcting third-party misinformation.
This responded to stakeholder requests for specific guidance and describes FDA's current thinking
on how manufacturers, packers, and distributors of prescription drugs and medical devices that
choose to present benefit information should present both benefit and risk information within
advertising and promotional labeling of their FDA-regulated products. Also see: Third-Party Misinformation Guidance. 
June 16, 2014
Report Summarizes Research on Marijuana’s Negative Health Effects
The current state of science on the adverse health effects of marijuana use links the drug to
several significant adverse effects including addiction, a review reports. The article, published
in the New England Journal of Medicine, is authored by scientists from the National Institute on
Drug Abuse (NIDA), part of the National Institutes of Health.  The review describes the science
establishing that marijuana can be addictive and that this risk for addiction increases for daily
or young users.  It also offers insights into research on the gateway theory indicating that
marijuana use, similar to nicotine and alcohol use, may be associated with an increased
vulnerability to other drugs. The authors review literature showing that marijuana impairs driving,
increasing the risk of being involved in a car accident and that these risks are further enhanced
when combining marijuana with alcohol. The authors also discuss the implications of rising
marijuana potencies and note that, because older studies are based on the effects of lower-potency
(less THC) marijuana, stronger adverse health effects may occur with today’s more potent marijuana.
(THC is the psychoactive or mind-altering chemical delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol found in marijuana.)
June 12, 2014
U.S. Diabetes Count Exceeds 29 Million | 1 in 4 Doesn’t Know
More than 29 million people in the U.S. have diabetes and a quarter of them do not know they have
it, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  One in
three people have pre-diabetes, the report notes. "These new numbers are alarming and underscore
the need for an increased focus on reducing the burden of diabetes in our country," stated Ann
Albright, director of CDC's Division of Diabetes.  Meanwhile, people with diabetes are using more
insulin and paying about twice as much of for the treatment than a decade ago, according to Yale
University researchers. Out-of-pocket costs for each insulin prescription rose to $36 in 2010 as
patients switched to new forms of insulin. 
June 12, 2014
Amazon, the world’s largest online retailer, is enabling unlawful sales of steroids, muscle relaxants, prescription antibiotics,
Amazon, the world’s largest online retailer, is enabling unlawful sales of steroids, muscle
relaxants, prescription antibiotics, and other dangerous, often illicit substances, an
investigative report from Slate alleges. Among the drugs illegally sold on Amazon’s website, the
report identifies prescription medications such as the antibiotics clindamycin and norfloxacin, and
the muscle relaxant methocarbamol as being readily available on the website. The article also
highlights the sale of suspicious designer supplements.
NABP helps consumers in the United States find the safest sources for purchasing medicine online
through its Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice SitesCM (VIPPS®) accreditation program. Consumers
are encouraged to look for the VIPPS Seal and check NABP’s list of accredited sites.  In addition,
NABP helps to raise consumer awareness about the risks of buying medications from illegal online
sellers. (source:  NABP e-News, 6/11/14
June 5, 2014
Recommended Starting Dose for Lunesta Lowered by FDA - Risk of Morning Impairment
FDA has lowered the recommended starting dose of the sleep drug Lunesta® (eszopiclone) from 2 mg to
1 mg.  Patients who are currently taking 2 mg and 3 mg doses of eszopiclone should contact their
health care provider to ask for instructions on how to continue to take their medication safely at
a dose that is best for them, FDA advises. The dose change came after findings from a study of 91
healthy adults found that the medication was associated with impairment to driving skills, memory,
and coordination for as long as 11 hours after the drug is taken.  In January 2013, FDA announced a
similar dose reduction for sleep medications that contain the active ingredient zolpidem, such as
Ambien® and Ambien CR.