July 24, 2002

Thursday, April 18, 2002

Feds Warn Again About Big Vans
The government has again issued a safety warning for 15- passenger vans, often used by churches, sports teams and other groups.

Nando Times says, “The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration this week repeated the unusual consumer advisory it issued a year ago, warning the vans have a dramatically higher risk of rollovers when fully loaded and only should be operated by experienced drivers.”

NHTSA Administrator Jeffrey Runge said the problems are not related to the van’s design. “This is not a defect issue,” he said. “This is a behavioral issue with the drivers.”

NHTSA research has shown that 15-passenger vans have a rollover risk that increases dramatically as the number of occupants increases from fewer than five to more than ten. In fact, 15-passenger vans (with 10 or more occupants) had a rollover rate in single vehicle crashes that is nearly three times the rate of those that were lightly loaded.

The Government issued this flyer on van safety.

(Do schools and churches even know about this? It is the second official government warning.)

Why Druggists Are Running Out of Drugs

Pharmacists are going nuts trying to work around a shortage of some of the most common and useful drugs they supply. Several injectable steroids also are on back order. One physician recently contacted the Food and Drug Administration with complaints that manufacturers of an injectable steroid are supplying only 25 vials a week. His practice routinely uses 30 vials a day. Anesthesiologists have found that several drugs they use have been either discontinued or are in short supply.
What an interesting story for you uto localize.

Thanks to Morning Meeting reader Pam Robinson, news editor with the latimes-washpost news
service for passing this story along to us from Newsday, “The drug shortage is a national problem, and locally pharmacists and doctors are feeling the pinch. Some medicines, such as intravenous ganciclovir (brand name Cytovene, by Roche), used to treat a serious infection in people with AIDS, can’t even be obtained for a single patient, Abberton said. If someone needs the anti-fungal medicine called caspofungin acetate (brand name Cancidas, made by Merck), the pharmacist has to enroll the patient with the drug company to receive a seven-day supply. Then, every week, the pharmacist has to fill out a new form for the next seven-day supply.

“It’s ridiculous,” said the pharmacist, who says it is costing his staff hours of extra time a day.

Because of such shortages, doctors, pharmacists and health-care regulators are winding up treating some conditions with alternatives that they say are not as effective.

“This is a big problem,” said Joseph Deffenbaugh, professional practice associate at the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists. “The real issue is patient safety. Certain well-established drugs have safety profiles that are just better than the alternatives.”

Newsday says there are several reasons for the problem. Some of the issues are manufacturing problems.

The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists keeps a list of drug shortages on its Web site.
The FDA also has a Web site, www.fda.gov, that lists the drugs in short supply.

Gannett Louisiana newspapers create state government watch site.
Susan Sirmons, Director of Market Development-
The (Shreveport) Times dropped Morning Meeting a note about a big effort that five Louisiana Gannett papers have launched. She says, “Online users now have a direct link to Louisiana’s politics and government with “Capitol Watch”, a collaborative effort of the Gannett News Service’s Baton Rouge, Louisiana, bureau, and the five Gannett Louisiana newspapers in Shreveport, Monroe, Lafayette, Alexandria, and Opelousas. Online visitors will find legislative news coverage, interactive polls, links to legislative and state government offices, updates on key topics, session results, and ultimately how their tax dollars are being spent. Plus, text and audio of the governor’s speech and a list of frequently asked questions to help users better understand the special sessions process.”

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