In 1986, 3 million people worldwide were infected with Dracunculiasis with another 120 million at risk. This Vidyya contains a report that updates the status of the eradication program as of June 2000. The program indicates that dracunculiasis has been eliminated from seven of 20 countries where it was endemic in 1995; however, in parts of Africa, particularly Sudan, dracunculiasis remains a serious public health problem. Overall, the infection rate for the disease is down 95%. This Vidyya also includes a background article on Dracunculiasis that was originally published in our 7 May 2000 issue.
In other news, minority children are being overlooked when it comes to Haemophilus B infection. According to data presented yesterday at the National Medical Association (NMA) 2000 Annual Convention, Haemophilus influenzae type b, also know as Hib disease, continues to remain a serious health concern, primarily among African American and Hispanic children under five years of age, due to the continued circulation of Hib and under-vaccination.
A decade ago, the Food and Drug Administration was an obstacle to the delivery of novel drugs to patients because its drug review activities were under-funded and the staff couldn't review products in a timely way. The review of New Drug Applications, the so-called NDAs that companies file on all new pharmaceuticals they want to market, took unacceptably long to process--about two-and-a-half years. Now the process can go as quickly as six months. The difference was brought about by user fees collected by the FDA by the pharmaceutical company that has applied for the drug approval. Questions have been raised as to whether the public good is served by the user fee collection.
Articles in today's Vidyya are:
As always, we hope you enjoy the issue.