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Saturday, May 7, 2011

EPA, Army Corps draft new Clean Water Act guidelines that threaten to seize control of all water supplies

EPA, Army Corps draft new Clean Water Act guidelines that threaten to seize control of all water supplies

(NaturalNews) On Wednesday, April 27, the Obama administration's US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and US Army Corps of Engineers (ACE) jointly released a new draft guidance for the federal Clean Water Act that aims to dramatically expand both the scope of what constitutes a "water source," as well as the legal power federal agencies can exert over those water sources.

If enacted, the proposal will basically allow the EPA and ACE to control any stream, pond, or even puddle that they determine "has a physical, chemical or biological connection" to any larger body of water, which includes even privately-owned water sources.

One of the biggest impacts of the guidance will be to reverse previous Supreme Court decisions that have established the proper constitutional limits on the scope of federal government regulatory authority over not only water, but other natural resources.

By undoing these decisions, the EPA and ACE will essentially be giving themselves a free pass to arbitrarily develop and establish their own rules, and they will be able to do so without proper congressional approval.

"Under this new guidance, a bureaucrat at the EPA will be able to dictate radical new rules," said US Congressman Paul Gosar (R-AZ). "This is just another example of the Environmental Protection Agency's attempt to circumvent Congress and develop rules and regulations that far exceed the authority granted to the agency under existing public law."

The EPA and ACE, of course, claim that expanded jurisdiction is needed to protect water from pollution and other contaminants. But given how the EPA has already given pollution exemptions to companies like Monsanto in the past, as well as allowed millions of gallons of toxic COREXIT to be dumped into the Gulf of Mexico during the BP disaster, it is clear that protecting water is not necessarily the EPA's primary agenda. Instead, the draft actually takes more control away from individual citizens, and gives it to corrupt bureaucrats -- all in the name of protecting water quality and promoting public health.

"Through vague definitions and broad interpretations laid out in this draft guidance, EPA and the Corps have once again shown little regard for the practical implications of their actions or Congress' intentions under the CWA," said Ashley Lyon, Deputy Environmental Counsel for the National Cattlemen's Beef Association. "Despite a letter from 170 members of Congress opposing the guidance, EPA and the Corps have crowned themselves kings of every drop of water in the country - except maybe a backyard swimming pool."

The agencies are accepting public comment on the proposal for 60 days:

You can also read the entire proposal for yourself here:

Sources for this story include:

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Vertex drug has a trade name - White Coat Notes -

Vertex drug has a trade name - White Coat Notes -

Incivek -- that will be the trade name for what Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc. hopes will be its new blockbuster drug to treat the hepatitis C virus, which is believed to infect more than 3 million people in the United States.
Cambridge-based Vertex disclosed the name Incivek (pronounced in-see-veck) this afternoon when it released its first-quarter financial results. The Food and Drug Administration is scheduled to decide on May 23 whether to approve the drug, which has been known as telaprevir.
Last week, a medical advisory committee made up of antiviral drug authorities from across the country voted 18-0 to recommend that the FDA give telaprevir the green light.
The same panel also recommended approval of a rival treatment, called boceprevir, developed by New Jersey drug giant Merck & Co. Merck will market its drug under the name Victrelis if it wins FDA approval.
Both drugs act to block the protease enzyme which allows the hepatitis C virus to reproduce.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Medical News: FDA Lays Out Rules for OTC Liquid Meds - in Washington-Watch, FDA General from MedPage Today

Medical News: FDA Lays Out Rules for OTC Liquid Meds - in Washington-Watch, FDA General from MedPage Today

WASHINGTON -- The FDA's new guidance for companies that make over-the-counter liquid medications -- such as cough syrups and cold remedies -- calls for packaging with calibrated dosing devices to prevent accidental overdose.
Most liquid medicines already come with a dosing device, such as a cup or a dropper, but the FDA would like every liquid drug sold over-the-counter to have a measuring device, according to a final guidance issued by the agency.
Those dosing devices should be clearly marked with liquid units of measurement, such as teaspoon or tablespoon, and the unit of measurement on the cup or spoon should be the same unit of measurement listed on the directions for use.
The dosing device should also not carry any unnecessary markings that might be confusing to the person measuring out the dose, and the markings should stand out enough so they aren't obscured once the liquid product is added.
Several recent studies have indicated that children often receive improper doses of liquid OTC medicines because parents give them in household spoons, or because the included dosing devices are poorly marked.
One study found that cups included with liquid medications were particularly prone to errors, with some 70% of parents putting more than 6 mL of liquid into a cup intended for dispensing 5 mL.
"Accidental medication overdose in young children is an increasingly common but preventable public health problem," said Karen Weiss, MD, of FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research's Safe Use Initiative, in a press release.
Overdoses of acetaminophen are among the most frequent unintentional poisonings seen in emergency departments and can lead to acute liver failure.
Following the FDA's announcement, the trade group Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA), announced OTC drug manufacturers will no longer produce liquid acetaminophen in a concentrated dose for infants, and liquid acetaminophen products for children under 12 will be sold only in one concentration to avoid confusion and accidental overdose.
Manufacturers will also be adopting syringes with dose restrictors for products intended for infants, the CHPA indicated, but cups will continue to be provided for older children.
In 2008, the FDA held a public hearing where consumer groups and some pediatricians -- including Joshua Sharfstein, MD, who was then Baltimore Health Commissioner and went on to become deputy commissioner of the FDA -- called for the FDA to ban the sale of over-the-counter cough and cold medicines for young children. Industry groups argued that the drugs are safe for use in kids under 2 years old.
Some at the meeting also complained about the confusing dosing and labeling on kids' cough and cold products.
The FDA's new recommendation also lists tips that caregivers should follow when giving medicine to a child, including knowing the child's weight, the difference between a tablespoon and a teaspoon, and using the dosing tool that comes with the medicine.

EU ban on top herbal supplements signifies crackdown on natural health

EU ban on top herbal supplements signifies crackdown on natural health

(NaturalNews) After much deliberation, new European Union regulations have come into place banning hundreds of traditional herbal remedies. Under the guise of "protecting" consumers from these "dangerous" supplements, the European Union has opened the flood gates to an onslaught of new legislation designed to cut off access to alternative health supplements worldwide, setting the precedent for the government to tell us what we can and cannot put in our own bodies. The rules allow for only "long-established and quality-controlled medicines" to be sold to consumers, limiting the advancement of any new companies or establishments that the government does not deem to be "quality" by their own terms. This type of governmental regulation of nutritional supplements may soon spill over to the food industry, where government involvement may be even more cause for concern.

Until now, the herbal supplement industry was governed by the 1968 Medicines Act, which was created when there were very few companies selling herbal remedies. Presently, about a quarter of all adults in the UK have used herbal medicine in the past two years, predominately purchasing it over the counter in health food stores and pharmacies. With the widespread use of alternative remedies that cost very little compared to expensive pharmaceuticals and surgeries, comes the intensive regulation of such natural products. The main targets under the new system include echinacea, St John's Wort and valerian, as well as traditional Chinese and Indian medicines. These are supplements that pose almost zero risk to one's health as long as they are taken correctly and from high quality sources. How then could these natural health ingredients possibly be seen as a threat to the health of the consumer?

The main claim by the government in regards to the "risk" that these natural herbs pose is that they can interfere with pharmaceuticals. Instead of allowing consumers to choose if they are willing to take potentially health-damaging pharmaceuticals, the government is banning anything that could "interfere" with mainstream medicine. Even the so-called experts behind the ban are members of various pharmaceutical organizations, such as the Royal Pharmaceutical Society. Since these organizations and individuals couldn't find any real side effects of these herbs that have been in use for countless decades, they were forced to say that it could potentially cause harm when taken in combination with the very pharmaceuticals they are backing.

"Patients might not realise that in some cases they should not take other medicines with them, or if they're going for surgery they should tell their doctors they are taking these particular medicines because there may be complications," said Prof Jayne Lawrence, chief science adviser to the Royal Pharmaceutical Society.

The draconian ban on natural herbal supplements that have been in use since the dawn of mankind signifies a complete crackdown on natural health supplements by the European Union. This is a landmark ban, as many other governments may follow with similar regulations and restrictions. The reasons behind this ban are truly ridiculous, as the very organizations behind it are the same organizations that back "conventional" pharmaceuticals over any other form of proven medicine. It is integral to the world's health freedom that consumers take a stand against such acts of herbal tyranny and demand that the government allow for consumers to address their own health conditions without the "helping" hand of governmental control.


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House passes healthcare defunding bill - The Hill's Healthwatch

House passes healthcare defunding bill - The Hill's Healthwatch

The House voted Tuesday to eliminate federal grant money intended to help states establish their own insurance exchanges. The measure passed 238-183 after Republicans dismissed complaints that the bill would tie states' hands and shift power to the federal government.

Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. (D-N.J.) said defunding the exchange grants would reduce states' ability to create exchanges tailored to their own needs. The federal government can run a fallback exchange in any state that does not establish its own.

"It's the exact opposite of what you're saying you want to do," Pallone said of the defunding bill during Tuesday's floor debate.

Rep. Michael Burgess (R-Texas) argued that even if states receive planning grants and authorize their own exchanges, they don't truly have flexibility over how to structure the new insurance marketplaces. The reform law sets criteria that every exchange, state-run or otherwise, must meet. States aren't free to set up their own exchanges unless they can explore options outside of those mandates, Burgess said.

Pallone offered an amendment to require a Government Accountability Office study into the benefits of state-run versus federal exchanges. It failed, as did all of the amendments to the proposal.

Five Democrats crossed party lines to vote for the final bill: Reps. Jason Altmire (Pa.), Dan Boren (Okla.), Luis Gutierrez (Ill.), Tim Holden (Pa.) and Mike McIntyre (N.C.). Gutierrez's office, however, said his vote was an accident and he had intended to vote "no."

The House postponed a vote on a separate bill that would cut the healthcare law's funding for school-based health clinics. The Congressional Budget Office estimated that the cuts would save the government roughly $100 million over the next decade. The exchange de-funding measure would save $14 billion over the same period, CBO said.