Friday, January 30, 2009

January News Round-Up

Photo credit: Disney's 1992 musical Newsies

It's hard to believe January is already wrapping up, but as we head into February many of the news stories from the past month will be coming with us. Here are our thoughts on the big news stories of the month:

Changes in the Pharmaceutical Industry
There has been some big news coming out of the pharmaceutical industry this month. Layoffs of sales reps and researchers are affecting multiple companies. Also, Pfizer is acquiring Wyeth in a $68 billion dollar merger. As ever-disappearing pipelines for blockbuster drugs disappear, major pharmaceutical companies will have to reorganize their R&D and sales models. Here's hoping that this shake-up will lead to a greater emphasis on personalized medicine and wellness.
- Heather Benson

Stem Cell News
President Obama had the stem cell community, including our friends at the Student Society for Stem Cell Research, tense with anticipation thanks to statements (see question 8) about reversing President Bush’s policy on federal funding for stem cell research with an executive order. On January 19 reported on the possibility that President Obama might prefer legislative action to an executive order on the stem cell issue. The President is quoted as saying,
“… I like the idea of the American people’s representatives expressing their views on an issue like this.”
It is good news, then, that Representative Diana DeGette [D-CO] issued a press release on Wednesday indicating that she will re-introduce legislation overturning limits on federal funding for stem-cell research. A new article in Time magazine illustrates the need for this research and the prominence that this issue has in current events.

You can keep current on the issue by checking out Ben's Stem Cell News, too.
- Hillary Lewis

Global Warming: Less of a Concern?
A Pew poll released last week about issues that President Obama should address shows global warming is less of a concern to Americans than it was a year ago. Andrew Revkin pointed out that the “findings are somewhat at odds with President Obama,” who has pledged to proactively address global warming.

The economy, jobs, and terrorism were the top three issues, not surprising during the current economic crisis.

In other news, Al Gore presented to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee about climate change, and urged them to quickly pass President Obama’s stimulus package, which allocates funding for energy programs that will help the U.S. deal with global warming. Hopefully continued visibility of climate change advocates will keep the issue on the public’s mind, even if it’s not currently their most pressing concern.
-Emily Norton

Oh, and we have a new president.

See you in February!

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