May 28: Summer is finally here! And you know what that means … sunburn season! But fret not, the FDA is working on a rule to ensure that we know everything we should about sunscreens. The agency in February proposed a process for better labeling over-the-counter sunscreens and for addressing active ingredient and dosage forms. “Since the initial evaluation of these products, we know much more about the effects of the sun and about sunscreen’s absorption through the skin. Sunscreen usage has changed, with more people using these products more frequently and in larger amounts. At the same time, sunscreen formulations have evolved as companies innovated,” then-FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb said in announcing the proposal. The comment period closes today. Be sure to check out Data Points to keep yourself safe from summer’s other hazard, the backyard grill.
May 31: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) unveiled a bill last week seeking to raise the age for buying tobacco products. The senators—both from tobacco states—want to set the age at 21. Maybe they should have waited a week. The last day of May is World No Tobacco Day. Sponsored by the World Health Organization, the campaign puts a spotlight on smoking’s dangers. “The campaign also serves as a call to action, advocating for effective policies to reduce tobacco consumption,” the WHO says.
June 3: OK, technically it’s next week, but we figured you wouldn’t mind an extra reminder that the comment period for two massive—and massively important—proposed regulations on managing electronic health information is closing. The CMS and the Office of the National Coordinator in February issued companion rules aiming to solve the interoperability problem and stop data-blocking. The agencies want to use the power of apps to give patients ultimate control of their records. ONC chief Dr. Donald Rucker talked about the issue at our Transformation Summit.