Policy-ish

Morning Rounds: Food Fees, Doggie Drug Approval, Health Momentum

Good morning.

New FDA Commissioner Peggy Hamburg came charging out of the gate yesterday at a House committee appearance, endorsing legislation that would require food companies should pay a fee to the agency to help offset food safety costs, says the Wall Street Journal.

But she also criticized the bill, which calls for significant increases in the number of inspections, as too ambitious and asked for more money.

Meanwhile, thanks to FDA, our canine friends got their first cancer drug approval yesterday, U.S. News & World Report says. It's Palladia, developed by Pfizer Animal Health Inc. in New York.

FDA's Center for Veterinary Medicine Director Bernadette Dunham:

"Prior to this approval, veterinarians had to rely on human oncology drugs, without knowledge of how safe or effective they would be for dogs. Today's approval offers dog owners, in consultation with their veterinarian, an option for treatment of their dog's cancer."

And finally, yesterday, President Obama detailed his hopes and dreams for a health care overhaul bill in a letter to Senate Democrats. He's softened his stance since the campaign on requiring everyone to buy health insurance, suggesting a hardship waiver to exempt the poor, and reiterated support for a public plan to compete with private insurers.

Several papers detail the financial fall out of the high costs of care and a poor economy. The Los Angeles Times notes that medical bills account for 62 percent of bankruptcies.

The New York Times has a story on how people are skimping on filling their prescriptions to save money.

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