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Monday, February 11, 2013

Today's FDA digest--in which I laugh at Mushroom recalls, which aren't really that funny, and announce approval for pomalidomide, a new cancer drug

If you have bought "Curiosity of Dashan Dried Mushroom" lately you may want to consider throwing it away--at least if you or a loved one has severe sensitivity to sulfites. The FDA announced today that DZH Import & Export recalled their dried mushrooms because they contain sulfites that the company didn't declare on the packaging. Note that this recall is voluntary, and a good move on the part of the business to avoid potentially hazardous mistakes.

More bad mushrooms--today and yesterday the FDA's been repeating Nestle's voluntary recall of Lean Cuisine Culinary Collection Mushroom Mezzaluna Ravioli. No, it's not because they only made that food to win the box-food-poetry alliteration contest--apparently their machines misprinted the "Best Before Date." No biggie, unless you really intended to keep your mushrooms unfrozen til Dec. 2013.

Next, the FDA just announced a new training program for foreign seafood producers. According to the FDA the US imports nearly 90 of its seafood--and much of that seafood is produced by aquaculture, meaning it's grown rather than caught. To combat microbes in often-crowded conditions, seafood producers stuff fish with antibiotics--and the FDA's training program should tell producers what drugs they can and cannot put in the fish if they want to make it to American tables.
Here's the awesome bit of today: FDA granted accelerated approval to pomalidomide (POMALYST capsules, Celgene Corporation) for "patients with multiple myeloma who have received at least two prior therapies, including lenalidomide and bortezomib, and have demonstrated disease progression on or within 60 days of completion of the last therapy." This means that patients with the almost incurable bone-cancer, myeloma, have better hope of survival; a study last year found that this drug worked for patients who seemingly could not improve under other therapies. FDA approval for drugs takes after three phases of research, and it's frustrating I'm sure that the drug sat in phase three since last year--but such a long trial course is normal for most intensive prescription drugs. For now, let's welcome pomalidomide and hope it performs well to save many lives! For more Information:

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