DRUG LABELS: FDA to Propose Simpler Labels
The FDA is preparing to overhaul medication labels, hoping to "make it easier for doctors to spot the biggest risks," the AP/Orange County Register reports. The problem has become "one of medicine's thorniest issues," as many experts blame deaths related to Rezulin, Duract, Posicor, Seldane and Propulsid on "doctors' failure to heed repeated warnings about how to safely prescribe the pills and for whom." Many doctors never read warning labels on medications, instead relying on pharmaceutical salesmen, who are "unlikely to stress risks" of a medication's side effects. Those doctors who do read the labels must search through pages of tiny print explaining its chemistry, efficacy and side effects. To address the issue, the FDA plans to propose new regulations that would make prescription drug labels look more like food labels, with "special at-a-glance sections highlighting the biggest risks." FDA drug chief Dr. Janet Woodcock said, "Our interest is the clinician who has 30 seconds to make that prescribing decision. They need something right in front of them." Agency scientists also are looking into stricter measures, such as limiting which doctors can prescribe certain drugs (Neergaard, 5/16).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.