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Government Roundup

December 17, 2012 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 90, Issue 51

The Supreme Court will decide whether “pay for delay” deals between brand-name and generic drug makers are legal. The Federal Trade Commission argues that the agreements are anticompetitive because they delay market entry of low-cost generics; drug companies say they are legitimate settlements of patent disputes.

SureChem, a database of chemistry patents and structures, has deposited more than 8 million unique chemical structures into PubChem. This marks the first time a complete collection of structures for a patent chemistry data source has been made freely available.

The Energy Department will invest $29 million in solar energy. Part of the funding will support the development of “plug and play” photovoltaic systems that can be purchased and operational on residential roofs in one day. Efforts to better forecast weather conditions that affect solar electricity production will also be supported.

EPA and the Consumer Product Safety Commission have joined forces to assess the effects of nanoscale materials on human health and the environment. CPSC plans to use the results to develop methods for monitoring the release of nanomaterials from consumer products and to evaluate exposure.

The Center for the Study of the Presidency & Congress says parents must be better advocates for science education if they want their children to get good jobs. CSPC’s “Letter on STEM Education to America’s Parents” encourages parents to demand more rigorous science education and better-prepared teachers.

California has proposed tightening its public health goal for perchlorate in drinking water from 6 ppb to 1 ppb. If this guidance level is finalized, the state would use it in reviewing and possibly revising its enforceable limit of 6 ppb for perchlorate in drinking water.


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