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WHO issues statement on international spread of polio

BY Ryan Chavis

GENEVA, Switzerland — The World Health Organization on Monday released a statement concerning the international spread of poliovirus. Members of the emergency committee reported that toward the end of 2013, 60% of polio cases were the result of the international spread of the virus, with increasing evidence suggesting that adult travelers contributed to the spread.

Pakistan, Cameroon and the Syrian Arab Republic pose the most significant risk of further polio exportations in 2014.The WHO advised these states to officially declare the situation as a national public health emergency. Additionally, according to the WHO, these states should:

  • Ensure all residents and long-term visitors (those staying greater than four weeks) receive a dose of OPV or inactivated poliovirus vaccine (IPV) between 4 weeks and 12 months prior to international travel;
  • Ensure that those undertaking urgent travel receive a dose of polio vaccine at least by the time of departure; and
  • Ensure that travelers are provided a certificate that serves as proof of vaccination.

States should maintain these measures until the following criteria have been met:

  • At least 6 months have passed without new exportations;
  • There is documentation of full application of high-quality eradication activities in all infected and high-risk areas; and
  • In the absence of such documentation, these measures should be maintained until at least 12 months have passed without new exportations, according to the WHO.

The following states are currently infected with wild poliovirus, but aren’t exporting: Afghanistan, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Iraq, Israel, Somalia and Nigeria.

"The consequences of further international spread are particularly acute today, given the large number of polio-free but conflict-torn and fragile states which have severely compromised routine immunization services and are at high risk of re-infection," the WHO said in its statement. "Such states would experience extreme difficulty in mounting an effective response were wild poliovirus to be reintroduced. As much international spread occurs across land borders, WHO should continue to facilitate a coordinated regional approach to accelerate interruption of virus transmission in each epidemiologic zone."

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Ancient Harvest expands line of gluten-free products

BY Ryan Chavis

BOULDER, Colo. — Ancient Harvest, a provider of organic, non-GMO and gluten-free foods, on Monday announced the launch of new Mac & Cheese and Culinary Ancient Grain lines. The new offerings are supported by new packaging and a revamped website.

"As a registered dietitian, I’m thrilled to offer new options to our health-conscious customers who we know strive to follow an optimal diet without sacrificing enjoyment, taste and culinary authenticity," said Constance Roark, RDN and director of marketing at Ancient Harvest.

The Mac & Cheese line consists of four flavors, including White Cheddar, Sharp Cheddar and two varieties of Mild Cheddar, for an MSRP of $4.29. The Culinary Ancient Grains is made up of quinoa, millet and amaranth, and is available in Sea Salt and Herb, Butter and Parmesan, Spanish Style and Spicy Curry for an MSRP of $3.79.

Consumers can find Ancient Harvest products in natural food stores and supermarkets nationwide.

 

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GPhA names pharmacy veteran to sciences and regulatory affairs role

BY Ryan Chavis

WASHINGTON — The Generic Pharmaceutical Association on Monday hired Felecia (Lisa) Tan for the role of AVP sciences and regulatory affairs. Tan, a former practicing pharmacist, brings more than 25 yeas of healthcare and FDA experience to GPhA.

“We are delighted that Lisa Tan has joined the GPhA staff. Her hiring demonstrates our continued commitment to making collaboration with FDA a key priority,” said Ralph G. Neas, GPhA president and CEO. “Lisa’s private sector background and her extensive experience at FDA, particularly in the Office of Pharmaceutical Sciences and the Office of Generic Drugs, will help make the generic drug industry an even stronger partner with FDA in the future. Lisa’s mastery of the abbreviated new drug approval regulatory framework will be invaluable in the association’s efforts to work with FDA to enhance the ANDA process and support the full application of the Generic Drug User Fee Act.”

At the FDA Center for Drug Evaluation and Research’s OPS and OGD, Tan was responsible for streamlining processes and protocols, receiving multiple awards for her operations leadership and technical expertise. Prior to her time at the FDA, Tan held several pharmacy management position. She received a pharmacy degree from the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy.

 

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