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Health Highlights: April 26, 2013

Senate Proposal Would Give FDA Clear Authority Over Compounding Pharmacies Millions Being Donated for Boston Bombing Victims Mexican Cucumbers Linked to Salmonella Outbreak: FDA

Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:

Senate Proposal Would Give FDA Clear Authority Over Compounding Pharmacies

Clear authority over compounding pharmacies would be given to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration under a Senate proposal.

The FDA faced criticism that it didn't react quickly to close a Massachusetts compounding pharmacy linked to a meningitis outbreak last year that killed more than 50 people. In response, FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg said the agency's legal authority over compounding pharmacies was unclear and asked for legislation to clarify its role, Bloomberg News reported.

"This legislation is a significant step forward in protecting the public from unsafe compounded products," Tom Harkin, the Iowa Democrat who leads the Senate health committee, said in a statement. "By clarifying FDA authority over high-risk compounding practices, this bill will enhance protections for patients taking compounded drugs and help prevent crises like last year's tragic meningitis outbreak."

Under the proposal, compounding pharmacies would have to register with the FDA and list the products they've made, Bloomberg reported.


Millions Being Donated for Boston Bombing Victims

Donations are pouring in as people hold fundraisers and set up online crowd-funding sites to help the victims of the Boston Marathon bombing pay for their medical expenses.

One Boston city fund has already collected more than $23 million in donations from individuals and corporations, the Associated Press reported.

But it's not clear if the donations, along with health insurance other sources, will be enough to cover the medical bills for the more than 260 people who were wounded in the attack. At least 15 victims lost limbs, and other injuries include head wounds and shrapnel-shredded tissue.

The cost of leg amputation is at least $20,000, rehabilitation therapy for amputees is tens of thousands of dollars, and the cost of an artificial leg can range from $7,200 to as much as $90,000 , according to the AP.


Mexican Cucumbers Linked to Salmonella Outbreak: FDA

A salmonella outbreak that has sickened at least 73 people in 18 states has been linked to cucumbers from two Mexican growers, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration says.

The agency said that cucumbers from the two growers are being stopped at the border, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that all of the contaminated cucumbers are now off the market, USA Today reported.

The first cases of the salmonella outbreak began in January and the last known case began April 6, according to Lola Russell, a spokeswoman for the CDC. She said no deaths have occurred in the outbreak, but 27 percent of people who became ill have been hospitalized.

The tainted cucumbers were linked to Daniel Cardenas Izabal and Miracle Greenhouse of Culiacan, Mexico. The cucumbers were distributed in the U.S. by Tricar Sales of Rio Rico, Ariz., USA Today reported.

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