AMA Says Obesity a Disease, Gay Men Can Donate Blood
The American Medical Association (AMA) voted to adopt new policies on emerging issues in public health at its Annual Meeting. The new policies include:
- Opposition to Genetic Discrimination: To support legislation that would provide protections against genetic discrimination and misused of genetic information.
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- Support of Public Access to Genetic Data: To encourage companies, labs, researchers and providers to publicly share data on genetic variants and their clinical significance through a system that assures patient/provider privacy. While the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) was created to protect individuals it is not all-encompassing and some people may not be protected by it at all.
- Pharmacy Compounding Safety: A recommendation that traditional compounding pharmacies be subject to state board and pharmacy oversight, as well as FDA oversight. The 2012 outbreak of fungal meningitis linked to products prepared at the New England Compounding Center is an example of why better oversight is needed.
- Opposition to the Lifetime Ban on Blood Donations for Gay Men: A policy opposing the FDA's current lifetime ban on blood donations from men who have sex with men. Per the FDA, men who have had sex with other men (MSM), at any time since 1977 (the beginning of the AIDS epidemic in the United States) are currently deferred as blood donors. This is because MSM are, as a group, at increased risk for HIV, hepatitis B and certain other infections that can be transmitted by transfusion.
- HIV Treatment as Prevention: To support programs to raise physician awareness of early treatment and “treatment as prevention” based on recent studies confirming that effective antiretroviral therapy can reduce HIV transmission by up to 96%. New NIH guidelines recommend immediate antiretroviral therapy however they have not been widely publicized to physicians.
- Obesity as a Disease: To recognize obesity as a disease requiring a medical intervention to advance obesity treatment and prevention. Recent drug product approvals include Qsymia (phentermine HCl/topiramate extended-release capsules; Vivus) and Belviq (lorcaserin HCl tablets; Arena).
- Banning Marketing/Sale of Energy Drinks to Kids: To support the ban of high stimulant/caffeine drinks to adolescents under the age of 18. The FDA continues to investigate reports of illness, injury or death associated with these products.
- Health Risks of Sitting: To recognize the potential risks of prolonged sitting and encourage employers and employees to try standing work stations and isometric balls.
- Permitting Sunscreen in Schools: To support the exemption of sunscreen from OTC medication possession bans in school and encourage schools to allow students to possess sunscreen. Because sunscreen is regulated by the FDA, it is considered an over-the-counter item, and is therefore banned from schools in the majority of the U.S.
- Exam Room Computing & Patient-Physician Interactions: To provide physicians resources for effectively using computers and electronic health records (EHRs) in patient-physician interactions.
For more information visit AMA-Assn.org.