Health Highlights: Feb. 8, 2008

To date, no illnesses have been reported to the FDA. Consumers should not consume these products, even if they appear to be normal, because of the potential serious risk to health. Consumers who have the affected products, or who have used them in recipes, should immediately throw the cans and food away, the FDA said.

A complete list of specific brands, products, and lot codes subject to the New Era recalls can be found at the FDA Web site. Consumers with questions can call the FDA at 1-888-SAFEFOOD.


U.S. Lawmakers Seek Details on Lipitor Ads Featuring Dr. Robert Jarvik

Information about people who may have served as stunt doubles for Dr. Robert Jarvik in television commercials for Lipitor is being sought by a U.S. congressional committee investigating the ad campaign for the cholesterol drug, The New York Times reported.

On Thursday, the committee sent letters to nine advertising firms believed to be involved in the Lipitor ad campaign. The letters noted that the House Energy and Commerce Committee and its subcommittee on oversight and investigations are looking into "false and misleading statements and the use of celebrity endorsements of prescription medications in direct-to-consumer advertising."

Jarvik, a pioneer in artificial hearts, was promised a minimum of $1,350,000 over two years to appear in Lipitor ads, according to a copy of a contract between Jarvik and drug maker Pfizer that was released by the committee.

The ad campaign began in 2006 with a TV ad depicting Jarvik sculling at Lake Crescent near Port Angeles, Wash. But Jarvik doesn't row and a Seattle rowing enthusiast served as Jarvik's stunt double in the ads, The Times reported.

It's believed the House committee is interested in finding out whether doubles for Jarvik were used in other Lipitor ads.

"We are taking a hard look at the deceptive tactics of drug companies in their direct-to-consumer advertising," Bart Stupak (D.-Mich), the subcommittee chairman, said in a prepared statement.


Tobacco Could Kill 1 Billion People This Century: WHO

Smoking and other types of tobacco use killed 100 million people worldwide in the 20th century, and could kill as many as 1 billion people this century unless dramatic global action is taken to curb tobacco use, said a World Health Organization report released Thursday.

It said all countries must significantly boost efforts to prevent young people from starting to smoke, help smoker kick the habit, and protect nonsmokers from secondhand smoke, the Associated Press reported.

The WHO Report on the Global Tobacco Epidemic, 2008 listed six specific tobacco-control policies that should be adopted by governments: raise tobacco taxes and prices; ban tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship; protect people from secondhand smoke; warn people about the dangers of tobacco; help people who want to quit smoking; and monitor tobacco use to understand and reverse the epidemic.

"The tobacco epidemic already kills 5.4 million people a year from lung cancer, heart disease and other illnesses,'' said WHO Director-General Dr. Margaret Chan. ''Unchecked, that number will increase to more than 8 million a year by 2030.''

It's expected that more than 80 percent of tobacco-related deaths will be in low- and middle-income countries by 2030, the AP reported.

The WHO report said nearly two-thirds of the world's smokers live in 10 countries, with 30 percent in China and about 10 percent in India. Other countries with large numbers of smokers include Indonesia, Russia, the United States, Japan, Brazil, Bangladesh, Germany and Turkey.

Governments worldwide collect more than $200 billion in tobacco taxes a year, but spend less than one-fifth of 1 percent of that revenue on tobacco control, the WHO report said.


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