Bayer Reaches Settlement With 27 Attorneys General Over Misleading Birth Control Ads

February 12, 2009

German pharmaceutical company Bayer on Monday agreed to conduct a $20 million corrective advertising program for its oral contraceptive Yaz and submit future television advertisements to FDA for approval as part of a settlement between the drug maker and 27 state attorneys general, Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley said on Monday, Reuters reports. The judgment resolves allegations that the 2008 marketing campaign for Yaz violated terms of a 2007 agreement by not disclosing the drug’s FDA-approved uses (Clarke, Reuters, 2/9). According to the AP/Arizona Republic, the attorneys general alleged that Bayer misled women by claiming that Yaz helped alleviate premenstrual syndrome and treat certain types of acne (Rough, AP/Arizona Republic, 2/10). Reuters reports that the 2007 agreement involved allegations that Bayer engaged in deceptive advertising.
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Report Looks At Racial, Ethnic Differences In Certain Birth Defects

January 19, 2009

“Racial/Ethnic Differences in the Birth Prevalence of Spina Bifida — United States, 1995-2005,” Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report: The report updates previously reported data on the prevalence of neural tube defects such as spina bifida and assesses racial/ethnic differences. The findings are based on U.S. birth certificate data for four periods from 1995 to 2005 and birth defect data from the National Vital Statistics System. Researchers compared the number of cases of spina bifida per 10,000 live births during the four periods — relative to a January 1998 mandate that folic acid be added to all enriched cereal grain products to prevent neural tube defects. The analysis indicates that from the early post-mandate period, 1999 to 2000, to the most recent surveillance period, 2003 to 2005, the prevalence of spina bifida decreased by 6.9%. The analysis also showed significant decreases in prevalence among infants with non-Hispanic black mothers, but not among infants with non-Hispanic white mothers or Hispanic mothers. “Additional public health efforts targeting women with known risk factors,” such as obesity and certain genetic factors, “likely are needed to further reduce the prevalence of spina bifida in the United States,” according to the report (Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, 1/9).
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Folic Acid Supplements Help To Prevent Certain Birth Defects For Which Hispanic Women Have Increased Risk

January 19, 2009

Twenty-one percent of Hispanic women are consuming enough folic acid to prevent certain birth defects before becoming pregnant, compared with more than 40% of white women, the North Denver News reports. Consuming adequate amounts of the dietary supplement before becoming pregnant can help prevent neural tube birth defects — serious defects of the spine and brain. According to the News, roughly 3,000 infants are born with neural tube birth defects annually. The effects of the conditions occur within the first few weeks of pregnancy, often before a woman is aware that she is pregnant.
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Pope’s Annual Peace Address Condemns Efforts To Reduce Birth Rates In Developing Countries

January 15, 2009

Pope Benedict XVI in his annual peace message on Thursday attacked campaigns in some developing countries that are aimed at limiting birth rates to help economic development, particularly campaigns that he said promote abortions, Reuters reports. In his message, “Fighting Poverty To Build Peace,” the pope criticized international campaigns to reduce birth rates that he said “sometimes [use] methods that respect neither the dignity of the woman, nor the right of parents to choose responsibly how many children to have.” He added, “Graver still, these methods often fail to respect even the right to life. The extermination of millions of unborn children, in the name of the fight against poverty, actually constitutes the destruction of the poorest of all human beings.” Population growth does not necessarily lead to increased poverty in a country, Benedict said, adding that developed nations with the highest birth rates “enjoy better opportunities for development” and that “population is proving to be an asset, not a factor that contributes to poverty.”
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Folic Acid Supplements Help To Prevent Certain Birth Defects For Which Hispanic Women Have Increased Risk

January 10, 2009

Twenty-one percent of Hispanic women are consuming enough folic acid to prevent certain birth defects before becoming pregnant, compared with more than 40% of white women, the North Denver News reports. Consuming adequate amounts of the dietary supplement before becoming pregnant can help prevent neural tube birth defects — serious defects of the spine and brain. According to the News, roughly 3,000 infants are born with neural tube birth defects annually. The effects of the conditions occur within the first few weeks of pregnancy, often before a woman is aware that she is pregnant.
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Low-income West Contra Costa women travel to Martinez to give birth

May 20, 2008

Scores of low-income, West Contra Costa women must travel to the county hospital in Martinez to give birth because they no longer have a welcoming hospital closer to home.

The result is that the obstetrics unit at Contra Costa Regional Medical Center is now jammed with patients.

Leaders of the taxpayer-supported hospital are exploring ways to expand the unit at a time when they also face multimillion-dollar budget cuts.

The scramble to find a hospital that will accept the West County women highlights the difficulty that Medi-Cal patients often have in obtaining care.

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Low-income West Contra Costa women travel to Martinez to give birth

May 19, 2008

Scores of low-income, West Contra Costa women must travel to the county hospital in Martinez to give birth because they no longer have a welcoming hospital closer to home.

The result is that the obstetrics unit at Contra Costa Regional Medical Center is now jammed with patients.

Leaders of the taxpayer-supported hospital are exploring ways to expand the unit at a time when they also face multimillion-dollar budget cuts.

The scramble to find a hospital that will accept the West County women highlights the difficulty that Medi-Cal patients often have in obtaining care.

Read the rest of this entry »