HEALTH

FDA advisory committee votes against Eisai-Arena obesity drug

BY Alaric DeArment

SAN DIEGO An advisory committee of the Food and Drug Administration has given a thumbs-down to a drug for treating obesity.

 

Eisai and Arena Pharmaceuticals said Thursday that the FDA’s Endocrinologic and Metabolic Drugs Advisory Committee voted 9-5 to recommend against approval of the drug lorcaserin, saying clinical trial data did not adequately show that its benefits would outweigh its risks.

 

 

While the FDA is not bound by advisory committee recommendations, it takes them into account when deciding whether or not to grant approval to a drug.

 

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White House continues health IT drive as CMS offers matching funds to states

BY Jim Frederick

WASHINGTON More money is flowing from the federal stimulus coffers to states as the White House continues its push to drive the healthcare system’s massive transformation to a digital and information technology-based platform.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is releasing another $6.9 million in federal matching funds for the effort, according to a report from the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society. The money is going to four states –– Hawaii, Massachusetts, North Dakota and Ohio –– to help pay for a conversion to electronic health records by Medicaid providers in those states, according to the society’s online newsletter, Government Health IT.

 

Similar matching grant programs already have gone to some other states –– including Delaware, Connecticut and West Virginia –– in line with the Obama administration’s plan to propel the nationwide adoption of health IT with some $20 billion in stimulus funds. According to the report, CMS is providing as much as 90% of the funds needed by state Medicaid administrators to provide incentive payments under the HITECH Act. States also can use some of the money to track the conversion to health IT, Government Health IT reported.

 

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Milk drinkers maintain healthy weight, study finds

BY Allison Cerra

WASHINGTON Milk drinkers are more likely to lose weight than those who skip drinking milk when on a diet, a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition suggested.

In a two-year study, researchers observed 300 overweight or at-risk men and women ages 40 to 65 years. The participants were put on low-fat, Mediterranean or low-carb diets for two years, but regardless of diet, those that consumed 580 mg of milk per day (about two glasses), lost about 12 lbs., compared with those with the lowest dairy calcium intake (averaging about 150 mg, or about half of a glass), in which participants lost just 7 lbs.

Beyond calcium, the researchers also found that vitamin D levels independently affected weight loss success, and, in line with previous research, milk and milk products were the top contributors to vitamin D in the diets of the study participants.

The study, "Dairy calcium intake, serum vitamin D and successful weight loss," was published in the Sept. 1 edition of the journal.

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