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Elizabeth Cooney is a health reporter for the Worcester Telegram & Gazette.
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Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Today's Globe: food inspections, cholesterol drug, biotech generics, FDA balance, the doctor and death

Local food inspection departments are dangerously understaffed and underfunded, with the state Department of Public Health doing little to solve a problem that specialists say could have catastrophic consequences, according to a report released yesterday by state Auditor A. Joseph DeNucci.

The hot new strategy of trying to prevent heart disease by raising good cholesterol had more setbacks yesterday as new studies indicated that experimental drugs didn't work and also had safety problems.

A top drug regulator told lawmakers yesterday it could be a decade or more before science is available to safely approve generic versions of biotech drugs in the way the agency approves knockoffs of traditional drugs.

The FDA needs to find a balance between expeditious approval of drugs or devices and the kind of rigorous scrutiny that will uncover -- preferably before approval -- the dangerous side effects of many new medications, a Globe editorial says.

As a surgeon, Pauline W. Chen deals with the critically ill. But it wasn't until she started writing about it that she learned how to deal with the emotions of it.

Posted by Elizabeth Cooney at 06:20 AM
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