Regulatory Recap: March 28 to April 3, 2011
- The Food Advisory Committee, a panel that advises the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), voted 8-6 not to require warnings on the packaging of food containing food dyes. The committee failed to find sufficient evidence that food dyes caused hyperactivity in children. The FDA often follows the recommendations of its advisory committees, though it is not required to do so.
- KV Pharmaceutical Co. cut in half the price of Makena, a drug for preventing premature births, after the FDA announced that it would allow specialty pharmacies to sell a much cheaper version of the drug. KV Pharmaceutical previously had exclusive permission to sell the drug, but after the company set the drug’s price, the FDA raised concerns about its accessibility to low income-women.
- President Obama delivered a speech about energy, declaring a national goal of reducing oil imports by a third by 2025, compared to a baseline year of 2008. He proposed imposing new energy efficiency standards, supporting biofuel and cellulosic ethanol refineries, and increasing domestic oil and natural gas production.
- Ohio Governor John Kasich signed a bill into law that eliminates the collective bargaining rights of public employee unions. Unlike a similar, much-discussed Wisconsin law, the Ohio legislation would not exempt police officers and firefighters.
- The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) issued a proposed rule to approve a temporary method of storing spent nuclear fuel called the HI-STORM Flood/Wind cask system. The cask system is a dry storage method, and it is considered safer than the cooling ponds that the Japanese Fukushima nuclear plant used. The NRC has already approved 21 other cask systems.
- The EPA approved a mobile air conditioning refrigerant, called hydrofluoroolefin -1234yf, for use in cars and light-duty trucks. This refrigerant could substitute for chlorofluorocarbons, which have been shown to deplete the ozone layer and are regulated under the Clean Air Act.