Consortium to Identify Genetic Markers that Predict Drug-related Serious Adverse Events

The International Serious Adverse Events Consortium (SAEC) officially announced its formation this morning. The new global, non-profit partnership between leading pharmaceutical companies, pharmacogeneticsthe U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and academic institutions plans to identify and validate genetic markers that may help predict which individuals are at risk for serious adverse drug events. The goal of the consortium is to publish a set of predictive SNPs for all drug-related serious adverse events (SAEs), reducing significant patient and economic costs as well as improving the flow of safe and effective medical advances by addressing safety issues of new drugs before they reach the market.

Bill in Senate to Expand Public Access to Taxpayer-funded Research

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is the world’s largest source of funding for biomedical research. Taxpayers provide more than $28 billion annually for the NIH [1], yet only about a third of the research studies are made publicly available in various repositories after a 12-month delay [2]. Lawmakers are trying to change this and the U.S. Senate is currently deliberating a bill that would require all research funded by the NIH to be freely available to the public within 12 months of publication.

Spinal Muscular Atrophy Legislation Update

Back in July, I wrote that spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) legislation was going to soon be introduced in Congress.

Prior to the August recess, legislation to enhance federal support for Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) research was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by Congressmen Patrick Kennedy (D-RI) and Eric Cantor (R-VA). The bill, H.R. 3334, would authorize the Secretary of Health and Human Services to conduct activities to rapidly advance treatments for spinal muscular atrophy, neuromuscular disease and other pediatric diseases. More information can be found on

Websites Advertising and Selling Prescription Drugs Increase by 70%

According to The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) at Columbia University, over the last three years the number of websites selling controlled prescription drugs such as opioids, depressants and stimulants has increased. The findings were presented in a new White Paper, “You’ve Got Drugs!” IV: Prescription Drug Pushers on the Internet, in May 2007 by CASA and released that same month at the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on “Rogue Online Pharmacies: The Growing Problem of Internet Drug Trafficking” [1].

Online drugs

Physician Profiling

The Washington Post published an interesting article today on physician profiling.

In the fight to control healthcare costs, employers and insurance companies are now monitoring physican performance. Using sophisticated computer software to analyze millions of health claims and billing data, doctors are being profiled. Physician profiles are rated and used to direct patients to effective and reasonably priced healthcare.