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Environment

Government Roundup

May 25, 2015 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 93, ISSUE 21

Patents for high-priced hepatitis C drugs should be broken by the Department of Veterans Affairs through its emergency powers to enable manufacture of lower-cost generics for government use, says Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.). Because of budget constraints, he says, the VA has stopped enrolling new patients who need treatment for hepatitis C.

Triclosan, an antimicrobial agent used in some soaps and consumer items, will be assessed for potential effects on endangered species, EPA announced in response to a petition from environmental groups. However, available data do not support banning products containing triclosan, EPA said.

Pentachloro­phenol and its salts and esters as well as hexachlorobutadiene and polychlorinated naphthalenes were added earlier this month to the Stockholm Convention, a global treaty to phase out persistent organic pollutants.

Human gene editing offers promising treatments for disease but raises concerns about potential risks and ethical problems associated with altering the human germ line. The National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Medicine are launching an initiative to guide human gene-editing research through these issues.

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