Archive by date | November 2013

US agency reverses stance on controversial diabetes drug

If ever there were a case study in the messy uncertainties of drug development, the diabetes drug Avandia (rosiglitazone) would be a prime candidate. On 25 November, US regulators removed safety restrictions that had been pasted on the drug in 2010 following concerns about heart risks. After years of debate and deliberation, Avandia can be marketed and prescribed freely again, even though, by now, sales of the drug have plummeted as people with diabetes turn to other options.  Read more

UN climate talks conclude with a whimper, and a new forest policy

After two weeks of frustration and controversy, negotiators departed the United Nations climate talks in Warsaw Saturday with a landmark agreement on forests and a rough roadmap to the next headline summit in Paris two years hence.  Read more

Taiwan scientist’s findings did not constitute defamation

The legal odyssey of Taiwanese environmental engineer Ben-Jei Tsuang has come to an end, as the petrochemical company that had accused him of libel did not appeal an earlier ‘not guilty’ verdict by the legally-required deadline of 20 November. The company had claimed that Tsuang’s release of data linking a petrochemical plant to increased cancer rates amounted to libel.  Read more

Cutting-edge UK science facilities going unused

Scientific instruments that cost millions of pounds are standing idle in the UK because of a lack of money to run them, a new parliamentary report has revealed. There is a “damaging disconnect” between funding to build new facilities and the funding to actually run them, it concluded. This includes spending nearly £40 million on high performance computers, without budgeting for the electricity they use.  Read more