josephmpickett.com

Welcome - Freelance SEO and Article Copywriting

freelance copywriter services | freelance newsletter writer | freelance copywriting service | freelance marketing copywriter

Joseph M. Pickett is an American freelance copywriter who specializes in writing informative, keyword-dense, and highly readable Website content for websites that range from appliances (Hamilton Beach), education to legal information. He writes both web pages and blog posts.

Pickett has been writing freelance for more than 10 years, and also have five years of experience writing and editing newsletters in medical and pharmaceutical topics. He is based in Texas.

Please look him up on Facebook and Twitter @ josephmpickett.

Updated April 7:

Here is a rather long list of my recent writing samples:

Web pages: 

http://www.hamiltonbeach.com/products/slow-cookers-small-slow-cookers.html

http://www.hamiltonbeach.com/products/ovens-large-toaster-ovens.html

http://www.hamiltonbeach.com/small-slow-cookers.html

http://www.hamiltonbeach.com/large-small-cookers.html

http://www.hamiltonbeach.com/stay-or-go-slow-cookers.html


Articles and Blogs:

http://blog.solsticemed.com/ - all by me

http://virginiabeach.legalexaminer.com/property-owners-liability-slip-fall/mother-of-two-electrocuted-children-files-wrongful-death-claim/

http://norfolk.legalexaminer.com/automobile-accidents/ny-driver-in-fatal-bikecar-wreck-faces-civil-lawsuit/

http://www.webmarketingpros.com/blog/has-facebook-figured-out-mobile-social-media-investors-say-yes/

http://www.webmarketingpros.com/blog/google-huge-now-serves-25-of-traffic-in-north-america/


More:

Some web pages from Jan. 2013:

These are some other blog posts I wrote this year:

And posts from the last few months:

Some older blog posts on this site:

SEO articles for October were largely in medical products, also in electronics and telescopes. Some sample links:

Some other recent SEO articles I have written include:

  • Define Beam Splitting Glass
  • Why You Should Invest in American Teleprompters
  • What Does a Teleprompter System Consist Of?
  • Make Video Production Easier With a Teleprompter
  • How a Teleprompter Can Improve Your Podcast
  • What Is a Tile Saw?
  • How to Select the Right Tile Saw For Your Job
  • How Does a Tile Cutter Saw Work?
  • What Causes Hair Loss?
  • Digital SLR Camera
  • Camera Lens
  • Video Camcorder
  • Vital Signs Monitor
  • Dermatologist Table/Chair
  • What Is a Cautery?
  • What Is an Electrosurgery Generator?
  • Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope recommendations
  • SLR Camera Reviews

From Tampa DUI:

The Importance of the DUI Formal Hearing

After you are arrested for DUI in Florida, remember that you have just 10 days to request your formal review hearing. Coming out on the winning side of this hearing is critical to helping to protect your driving record, and also avoiding some of the worst consequences of possibly having a DUI on your record.

With a strong DUI attorney in your corner, there really is no downside to requesting a formal review hearing. At the hearing, you can:

  • Continue to drive to work or for business for an additional 42 days
  • Win the hearing if a witness for the stated does not appear after your attorney subpoenas him or her. Some of the critical witnesses include the officer who made the arrest and the technician for the breath and/or blood test.
  • Win the hearing if there is not enough evidence to uphold the suspension
  • Win the hearing, which then invalidates the suspension of your driver’s license, and vacates the officer’s action when he arrested you

In the case that you lose the hearing, your attorney can still subpoeana important witnesses and documents, look at calibration records of the breathalyzer and gather other important data for your defense at trial. He also can cross examine the government’s witnesses. This is an important opportunity for your lawyer to question witnesses before the trial. The cross examination is recorded, and it can be used against a witness later if he changes his testimony.

In summary, you need to act quickly if you are arrested for DUI. Retain a top DUI lawyer at Musca Law so he or she can request this critical hearing, and begin to fight for your rights.

Wall Murals Aren't Just For Kids Anymore; Enjoy an Inexpensive Change of Scenery

One might think that wall murals are just for children’s rooms – pictures of athletes, cartoon characters, tv personalities and so forth. This is not the case! Wall murals are pieces of art these days that can transform your office décor into a truly dynamic space. Trained professionals are now available to help businesses, consumers and industry professionals to create beautiful scenes that can transform any business or personal space.

Only Limited by Your Imagination!

These art works can be tailored to your specific tastes. You can change a plain white walled room into the most amazing settings. Only your imagination is the limit! For example, you can choose adult wall mural paintings such as beach scenes, city scenes, exotic animals, Hollywood caricature, Italian renaissance, Jamaican styles, laundry scene, mountains, forests, ocean window, outer space, sports, trains, under the ocean, graffiti, western, outdoor wild life, and so much more. These mural ideas are just a few concepts to get your mind going. This mural can be whatever you want it to be.

Themes

One idea is to create a mountain retreat in your home office by adding a scene of the mountains with a painting wall mural. Your mountain mural can be added to by putting some accent pieces in the room. For a rustic feeling, you could try cedar log or mission style furniture. You should also think about lighting this room with sunlight, lanterns, even candles.

Another idea is an Italian countryside theme. This creates a feeling of elegance in your room. Typical aspects of this theme for your wall mural are pictures of the Italian countryside, with old world architectural items. Tuscany is a very popular choice.

Also, you should consider one to add to your kitchen décor! One popular concept is to use tile murals. Ceramic tiles with a theme painted on them look fantastic and are a great backsplash in the kitchen. Tile murals may be painted custom, or you can choose popular images from a catalogue.

Window Murals and Other Ideas

Another idea might be a window mural. That is right – you can have the picture of a window painted on your wall. It creates the illusion of a window! This is a popular concept of decorative painting called trompe l'oeil. This is one of the most amazing types of decorative wall painting because it closely imitates reality. People tend to really notice a trompe l’oeil mural image. It really becomes the focal point of the room. You can also try this technique with a fireplace mantel. If you ever wanted a stone fireplace mantel or a mahogany mantel, you can have one with trompe l’oeil! And you should remember to paint candles around the mantel to give it a really special touch.

Also, you can create your own work of art with paint by number wall murals. So whatever your taste or budget, always remember that wall murals can be found to enhance virtually any room space.

These samples are from July 2011:

Medical Products

What Vision Screening Professionals Absolutely Need to Know About Vision Testers

The most important tool a vision screening professional uses to measure eye health is a stereo optical vision tester. However, vision testing is not always considered to be an important part of an eye examination by busy vision screening professionals.  The fact remains though that there is no better way to check on the progression of many eye diseases than one of these devices.

The best testers are able to measure visual acuity, potential visual acuity, contract sensitivity, glare and color. Good vision testers should require no physical interaction and should automatically refract and allow minute refinements in sphere and cylinder to provide the best optimal subjective refraction. The device should offer 16 white LEDs and a diffuser system for thorough lighting.  Two optical paths typically are provided, which is key for patients who wear glasses with protective lenses.

It should be able to perform many vision screening tests in one sitting, including distance and near visual acuity testing, astigmatism, phorias, stereopsis, fusion, ARMD, glare testing, contrast sensitivity and potential acuity testing. The device should be lightweight (10 pounds or less), and adaptable to each patient and allow them to sit in a relaxed position throughout testing. Some vision testers also do peripheral visual field analysis. It also should have user-friendly software to save and print patient data and results.  All of the tests should be finished within 2-4 minutes.

The latest generation of these tools  provides vision screening professionals with all aspects of vision assessment in one rapid screening device. In fact, a top notch vision tester – such as this one – is probably just as important a tool as a strabismoscope!

Everything You Need to Know About Autoclaves

Since the very first medical procedures were done, the worst problem that both doctors and patients have had to deal with is controlling the risk of infection. Any time a person has a wound or needs an operation, the risk of infection from unsterilized equipment is increased. In the distant past, alcohol, sulfur or fire was used to disinfect the equipment with only limited success. Today the autoclave  is used so that every piece of surgical equipment being used 100% sterile.

Oftentimes, boiling water was used as a popular method of cleaning and sterilizing both tools of the trade and the clothing worn by surgeons. However, boiling water presents two difficulities. First, it only gets hot enough to kill a percentage of the micro organisms that cause infection and second you cannot pour boiling water on a wound or the area where surgery has been performed. Betadine and several other topical disinfectants can be used on the body and for the tools and cloths an autoclave that superheats them will kill all of the organisms that may infest them.

Using fire to sterilize the tools used in the operating theater proved not to be the best idea either. This is because the fire could not kill all bacteria. Fire also caused harm to the tools themselves. There simply had to be a better way to sterilize equipment without actually damaging them and still be able to eliminate 100% of all known germs and bacteria. That is what the autoclave does, and why it has become one of the most accepted forms of sterilization around the world.

The idea for the autoclave is derived from careful observation of the canning process for foods. It was thought that if a pressure cooker using pressurized steam could eliminate the germs and micro organisms that could render food unsafe to eat, it could be used to make surgical equipment safe to use on patients. It was found that the use of steam under high pressure would actually kill off all known organisms in a very short period of time.

The very first autoclave was used on the stovetop and just like the pressure cooker used for canning made use of a series of gauges and valves to control temperature and pressure during the sterilization process. Today they are computer controlled and exceptionally effective at eliminating any risks of infection. Special paper is used to wrap the tools that changes color when the proper temperature and level of sterilization has been reached.


The Importance of the EKG Machine

EKGs are amazing devices that help detect and document the electrical activity of a patient's heart. This test is used to pinpoint the existence of heart problems. Doctors carry out an EKG in order to access systems of heart problems in their patients. Some symptoms of heart problems include the following:

 

·         Pain in the chest area

·         Feelings of tiredness and weakness

·         Unusual sounds made by the heart

·         Breathing starts becoming difficult

·         Heart pounding, fluttering or racing, or feeling that the heart has an irregular beating pattern

People who need an EKG include those who are over the age of 40. They should have to undergo an EKG as part of their regular medical routine visits in order to screen for heart diseases that do not always show up under routine examination. Doctors usually screen patients who are known to have a family history of heart disease, especially if the heart disease developed at an early stage in the lives of family members who have had heart disease. EKGs are also used to check how effective heart treatments, such as medical devices and drugs, are working in patients.

An EKG records only a few minutes of heart signals simultaneously; thus, the test will only show a heart problem, that is, if the heart problem presents itself when the test is being conducted. There are many types of heart problems that are present all the time, which can be easily detected by EKGs. But, there are some heart conditions that cannot be easily detected because they are not always apparent. For instance, irregular beating of the heart might only happen for a few minutes out of each day or while participating in specific activities every day. For situations like these, special types of EKGs are used in order to help detect these types of heart anomalies.

The Special types of EKG that are used for detecting these anomalies are event monitors, holter monitors, and stress monitors.

It is important for a medical establishment to purchase top quality diagnosis equipment, because everyone knows that substandard diagnosis equipments and machines used for treating a patient can bring a law suit. Finding a top quality EKG machine at a good price is of critical importance.

 -----


One of my recent SEO clients was Jamesallen.com, a top provider of diamond jewelry. I wrote about 25 SEO and other short articles for James on jewelry and diamonds. He wanted links in the text and 3% keyword density for each phrase. Here's one:

Diamond Engagement Rings Enjoy Timeless Popularity

Diamond engagement rings seem to have been popular forever, but this is not really so. The fact is that the idea of the traditional diamond engagement ring is due to a De Beers advertising campaign during the Great Depression. The De Beers campaign enjoyed such success that diamond sales boomed 55% in only three years’ time.

The trend continues today. One of the most popular sellers, Tiffany and Co., sold about $186 million in diamond rings last year.

Diamond engagement rings can include the classic solitaire but different shapes as well as sidestones also are becoming more popular today. This is particularly helpful to remember for men on a budget. Fancy shaped diamonds usually look larger than round diamonds of equal weight. This is especially true of diamonds with elongated shapes, such as marquise, oval and pear shaped diamonds.

A pavé setting is another that can help a diamond look bigger. It looks like a continuous surface of diamonds, but is actually made up of small diamonds set side by side into little holes.

Diamond engagement rings are so timelessly popular that they can even get controversial.

For example, recent news reported that while most weddings go off as planned, occasionally the wedding is called off and the question becomes, what should be done with the diamond engagement ring?

This can get so controversial that some countries have even enacted legislation to decide what should happen to the engagement ring. In Jamaica, for example, the government relies on the common-law position that the engagement ring is a conditional gift, which is given on the condition that the marriage will happen within a reasonable time frame. If the wedding occurs, the contract is completed and the ring becomes the property of the recipient.

If the engagement is called off, who gets to keep the engagement ring depends upon the reason for the break-up. Whose fault was it?

In California, there is a common-law approach. The ring is a conditional gift and the giver may keep it if the two people agree to walk away from each other.

Another Jamesallen.com sample:

Finding the Perfect Diamond Requires Knowledge Of Latest Trends

Many women’s idea of a diamond engagement ring usually is that of a yellow gold band with one large diamond. That is the classic, traditional diamond ring given before a wedding, of course.

However, as people gain an education about diamonds and jewelry, other options for engagement rings are becoming popular.

With all of the choices of different types of gold and diamond settings available today, there are many details about ring buying that you need to know. There are many metals, stones and precious materials available.

The first thing to check is color. Color for a traditional diamond goes from letter D to letter Z. D is colorless and Z would be yellow-brown.

Celebrities, like Jennifer Lopez, picked colored diamonds for wedding bands. This trend is getting more popular. Colored diamonds are more expensive, however. 

Next is cut, which sometimes is confused with the shape of a diamond. Cut is the proportions and finish of a polished diamond. How a diamond is cut changes how the stone reflects natural light. Cut is just as important as weight, color and clarity.

Next is the clarity of the diamond – the amount of blemishes or flaws in the stone. Each stone is placed under 10-power magnification by a trained diamond grader to determine clarity, typically.

Most people buy stones with imperfections, but this is fine as they generally cannot be seen with the naked eye.

Caret weight is the next criteria for a diamond. Typically people choose around 1 caret.

Band color is also very important. This is where the lady’s preferences come into play especially. Yellow gold – the classic choice -- is not so popular as it once was. White gold is becoming more popular, but it can wear away with time. Platinum is more durable but is more expensive.

It also is possible to design your own ring at many sites, including this one.

freelance copywriter services | freelance newsletter writer | freelance copywriting service | freelance marketing copywriter

Below are three newsletters that I wrote, laid out, and edited. The subject is FDA and pharmaceuticals. 

VTfeb08draft.doc VTfeb08draft.doc
Size : 145.5 Kb
Type : doc
SampleVTPickett.doc SampleVTPickett.doc
Size : 151.5 Kb
Type : doc
SampleVT2Pickett.doc SampleVT2Pickett.doc
Size : 152.5 Kb
Type : doc

New Social Media Post on Yahoo!:

Effective use of social media — such as Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, Google+ and Twitter –  in your business is essential to maximizing your online sales. Effective social media marketing programs are focused on creating interesting content that encourages readers to share the information with their social networks.

Why should you worry about social networking in your business? Because a corporate marketing message that comes from people you know is much more likely for you to buy into. And, you are much more likely to spread that message to your social network if the message came from a trusted friend.

The Case of Ford Motor Company

There is no better example of the power of social media to revitalize a brand than Ford Motor Company. Ford was hurting big time following the recession that started in 2008, with a major drop in its share price. However, Ford has shown to be very resilient, as it rejected TARP bailouts and truly embraced the power of social media to boost sales.

Ford currently has at least 80 Facebook pages, with more than 14.7 million fans, that they use for various marketing campaigns. Their global head of social media, Scott Monty, gets that people interested in Ford products want to see a lot of diverse and interesting content. That is why the company is constantly tweaking its marketing messages in social media.

Ford was one of the first companies to sign up on Google+, and it has emerged as one of the corporate powers of the social media world. Ford has been able to restore its brand to some level of prominence because of its effectiveness in directly connecting with customers on social media.

Check out some of the social media statistics for Ford today:

  • Facebook: 80 pages, 1,763,000 likes and 14.7 million fans
  • Twitter: 186,000 followers
  • YouTube: 109,000 subscribers
  • LinkedIn: 155,000 followers
  • Google+: Circled by 1,900,000

Ford has put together some very successful social media campaigns. Some examples:

  • Fiesta Movement: Ford gave Fiestas to 100 young people and let them drive the cars for six months, posting videos and blogging about the experiences.
  • Random Acts of Fusion: This campaign started with a teaser video on the Fusion Facebook page, where Ryan Seacrest urged Ford fans to work together to unlock more content by giving 1,000 likes on the Facebook page. The goal was reached in 24 hours.
  • How to Focus Your Car: This cool campaign was created to show off the Focus as a high-tech vehicle that young drivers should enjoy driving.
  • Doug, Ford’s Spokespuppet: Ford did a campaign with a puppet as a spokesperson. It encouraged Ford fans to go to Doug’s Facebook page and like it. The goal was 10,000 – it got 43,000 likes in 2011.

Ford’s great success with social media marketing is a great indicator of what can be done in the social media space by progressive companies.

Ford is not the only large corporation to hit the target on social media campaigns. Other big social media campaign successes have included:

#1 Oreo – You Can Still Dunk in the Dark

This brilliant social media campaign was cooked up on the fly during the 2013 Superbowl by the advertising company Mondelez International. These guys had no idea that the power would go out in the Superbowl, but they had a team watching the game, ready to launch a social media campaign on the spot.

Their Oreo advertisement, cooked up in minutes when the lights dimmed in the Superdome during the game, was released on Twitter and was retweeted 15,000 times in 14 hours.

#2 Mello Yello – They Call Me Mello Yello

If you grew up in the 1980s, you probably remember the citrusy soda Mello Yello. It is still around, but many people were not very familiar with it anymore. Mello Yello recently came up with a new social media campaign that played off of the 1966 hit song by Donovan. Mello Yello aggressively used Facebook to spread the new message to old fans of the product, and also thousands of Millennials who weren’t around in the early 1980s.

Mello Yello also launched a Facebook page , which included a cool Retro Smooth Photo Generator. It allows users to take a photo of themselves and go from ‘not smooth’ to ‘smooth,’ by using a hipster-style photo filter.

#3 Grey Poupon – The Society of Good Taste

It is a rare social media campaign that requires you to fill out an application to become a Facebook fan of the product. But that is exactly what Grey Poupon did in 2012.
The idea behind this unusual campaign was to create a sense of exclusivity for the Facebook page for Grey Poupon mustard. It also attempted to develop a highly relevant and qualified Facebook audience.

Users who wanted to become fans – get this – had to APPLY to become members through the Society of Good Taste application! The app scanned your profile in Facebook and learned about your friends and interests. Then it assigned you a score to determine if your taste was good enough to become a fan of Grey Poupon.

This very unusual campaign was highly successful in building brand awareness for Grey Poupon.

#4 Sephora – 15 Days of Beauty Thrills

The goal of this Facebook campaign in 2012 was to attract fans and to drive more traffic to the new Sephora website. Sephora utilized some of its beauty partners, such as Urban Decay, Pantone Universe, Make Up For Ever and others, to provide ‘thrills’ for the Sephora Facebook community. Some of these thrills included a $5000 shopping spree, a new Fiat, a trip to Paris and several others.

Sephora also used a fan-gated application that required you to like the Sephora Facebook page to gain access. Fans learned about new thrills at midnight the day before, and they could enter to win the thrill each day on Sephora.com

This Facebook media campaign worked because it created a strong sense of exclusivity. It offered insights and special, thrilling deals to its Facebook fans that they could not get elsewhere.

All of these companies are really leveraging the power of social media to drive their sales and brand awareness to the next level.


Sample Oct. 2011 for a real estate site:

Why Shouldn’t I Contact the Listing Agent?

The last thing you want to do as an Athens, Ga home buyer is to call the agent on that home listing.

Listing Agents Represent the Seller, Not You, The Buyer.

The seller’s agent has a contractual agreement with the seller to achieve the best possible results for the seller. That’s right. The seller's agent will be very friendly and seemingly helpful, but, make no mistake and do not be fooled, that agent has a legal and fiduciary responsibility to the seller- not you.

You can easily end up paying thousands of dollars more for your home by dealing with a seller’s agent.

Why You Need A Buyer’s Agent

Every buyer should be represented by a buyer’s agent. A buyer’s agent is your advocate to ensure you get the best property at the lowest price.

Our site features the complete MLS listings for the Athens, Ga area. So you can find that perfect home. But, when you need an agent, that’s where we come in. We are here to help you before you accidently get stuck with a real estate agent who does not represent your interests. We can help you find the right real estate professional along with other local professionals like builders, inspectors, mortgagers, insurers, surveyors and attorneys.

What About Commissions?

The seller always pays the real estate commissions in a real estate transaction. Any commission your buyer’s agent receives comes from the seller, not from you.

Why Us?

We are experienced brokers, developers and builders with decades of experience and 1000's of transactions. Through a conversation we will get to know your situation, needs and personality. Then we'll connect you with a buyer’s agent that best fits your needs in your search for your Athens Home.

There is no obligation when you search on our site or talk to us on the phone. We simply want to provide you the best possible advice and get you the best representation as a buyer.

Get in touch with us today!


This is a sample I wrote Sept. 14 for e-firstaidsupplies. com:

Why You Should Choose Us As Your Medical Glove Supplier

Medical examination gloves protect both medical professionals and patients from dangerous blood borne pathogens. These items are a disposable item, so they can be a major routine expense for many medical practitioners. That is why it is becoming more common for many hospitals to use only one type of glove, or even one size to cut costs.

At e-firstaidsupply.com, we do not recommend this practice. We provide you with the most complete stock of glove materials and sizes to best suit your patients’ needs. Our glove line gives you the ultimate in:

·         Materials. All medical gloves provide protection, but the type of material they  are made of makes a difference. A primary care facility, intensive care ward, and emergency room do not have the same needs, so the type of glove for each will vary. We give you a full choice of the best latex, vinyl, and nitrile for your environment. Whether you need a thicker nirile glove of 6 mm thickness for your ER, or a 4 mm latex for your regular ward, we have your needs covered here.

·         Sizes. One of the most common ways to cut costs is to have only one size for an entire facility. This is not recommended, because a poor fitting glove is a glove that some people will decide to avoid. Also, if the glove is too small, some professionals will tear them off, thereby increasing your expenses. This will not be a problem, because we provide a full line of medical gloves in all the common sizes for men and women.

·         Price. By using our complete line of products, you will have everything you need for every department in your facility. But your costs will be kept low, because our prices are the most competitive in the industry.

Learn more about our wide line of latex, vinyl and nitrile gloves here.


Here are sample pharmaceutical articles I wrote this year: 

U.S. to have 3 drug inspectors in China by end of year; Chinese authorities disagree

FDA continues to work toward establishing eight full-time, permanent positions at U.S. diplomatic posts in China, according to an import safety action plan update released July 2.

Also, HHS Secretary Michael Leavitt stated that he expects FDA will have investigators in three Chinese cities by the end of 2008.

However, Li Changjiang, head of the Chinese agency that oversees quality control, disagreed last month, saying that the issue had not been totally resolved because U.S. authorities have not granted permission to permit Chinese food and drug inspectors in the U.S. 

According to published reports, Li said: “The relevant U.S. authorities are still following through and we have yet to receive the go-ahead” for the Chinese inspectors in the United States.

Entitled the “Import Safety – Action Plan Update,” the just-released report outlines steps taken by the federal government, private sector and international partners to bolster import safety. Since November 2007, there have been strong enforcement actions, signed agreements with key trading partners, bilateral and multilateral discussions, critical information sharing on safety and best practices, and a process begun to improve safety practices both inside and outside of government, FDA stated.

According to the report, FDA is working with New Mexico State University to develop a prototype system for improving electronic screening, using open-source intelligence, of imported products offered for entry into the U.S.  The evaluation of the prototype system PREDICT (Predictive Risk-Based Evaluation of Dynamic Import Compliance Targeting) has been completed and the final pilot evaluation document is under review. 

Further, the report stated that the Department of Homeland Security’s Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Agency is coordinating to ensure harmonized government procedures and requirements in importation. CBP is working toward a shared automated system permitting information gathering and sharing among participating import safety agencies.

The agency stated in the import update that it continues to work with the Chinese government to improve testing for drug contamination to prevent cases such as heparin, which led to at least 80 deaths in the U.S.  The report stated that working with the Chinese government “was more efficient due to two previous Memoranda of Agreement that were put in place last December to enhance the safety of a wide variety of food, feed, drugs and medical devices traded between the two nations.”

Also, the U.S. government participated in a forum with Central American countries to discuss ways to ensure the safety of manufactured goods and foods as they move between countries. Similar discussions have occurred with the leaders of other countries, including China, Vietnam and India.

In addition, FDA July 2 released an update on the Food Protection Plan (FPP), which addresses safety and food defense for domestic and imported products, some of which applies to drugs and medical devices.

The FPP stated that the implementation of the China Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) has begun. FDA has met its first set of deadlines by providing registration materials to the Chinese government, identifying points of contact for the MOA and drafting the first five-year work plan.

An FDA delegation visited Indian counterparts to discuss requirements for an FDA presence in India.  Results are promising for future collaboration.

In April, the FDA Commissioner traveled to Jordan to explore the possibilities of enhanced collaboration between FDA and Jordan.

The report noted that FDA is exploring an FDA presence in Latin America/Central America.

“FDA is working to enhance traceability capabilities because the ability to quickly identify where a contaminated product came from and where it has been distributed is essential for a rapid response,” the report added.

Also, FDA currently is engaging in dialogue with industry and other stakeholders on current traceability models and standards to identify best practices for traceability.

 

Questions remain about policies and membership of drug safety board

ROCKVILLE, MD – As FDA’s newly-formed and independent Drug Safety Oversight Board (DSB) continues to take shape, a number of unanswered questions remain, such as, what will the criteria be for determining what is an emerging drug issue, and what will be the policy by which drugs are put on and taken off the Drug Watch List?

At a meeting of the FDA Science Board Advisory Committee here April 15 on pre- and post-marketing drug safety programs, numerous stakeholders asked tough questions about the DSB, which was announced by HHS Secretary Michael Levitt in February.

  For example, several panelists grilled Galson about the Drug Watch List, a new section on the FDA website that will contain emerging data and information about drugs to increase transparency and public knowledge of drug safety issues.

“There will be a policy where a drug can go on and off watch,” responded Steven Galson, M.D., acting director, Center for Drugs. “As a communication tool, the list isn’t effective if it just grows and grows. The board will have to set criteria for taking them off, as well as on,”

 According to an FDA press release, the DSB will “enhance the independence of internal deliberations and decisions regarding risk/ benefit analyses and consumer safety.” The Washington Post reported that the board would, for the first time, take the officials who approve new drugs largely out of the process of assessing whether side effects that appear later are serious enough to require quick regulatory action. The DSB will comprise FDA members and other government agencies and people from industry. One of its first initiatives will be to commission an Institute of Medicine study to look at drug safety from top to bottom.

 But questions still came up at the advisory committee meeting if the new board is still too populated with people who approved the drugs in the first place. For example, one panelist asked: “Should there be a way to get a more distant oversight of this process, given all the internal people on the board? We need a mechanism to ensure there is an oversight so that it does not have anything to do with approving a drug.”

 Galson responded: “I think that is an important concept. We are just in the early process of putting the board together, and we will examine all of the options.”

Acting Deputy Commissioner for Operations Janet Woodcock, M.D., noted: “Nothing we are doing in setting up this board is meant to diminish the role of advisory committees. It is not meant to supplant the efforts of our experts on the outside.”

 Galson added that consumer groups would be represented on the Drug Safety Oversight Board. “They will represent all of the patient groups, and they will all have gone through the SJE Process and been vetted.”

 Sen. Michael Enzi, (R-WY), speaking at a Food & Drug Law Institute (FDLI) meeting in Washington, D.C., April 7, said he is fighting the concept of a separate drug safety board. “When all you have is a hammer, you think everything is a nail. If I was on that new drug safety board and I saw some of the prescription drug commercials on TV with all the listed side effects, I’d pull every drug with that side effect.”

 Enzi further commented that it is easy to overreact to adverse events, given all of the media exposure they receive. ““Every time we take a drug we take a risk, so we shouldn’t overreact. Pharma needs to do better job of promoting the miracles they have created. We don’t emphasize the miracles the industry is doing today. A drug that is unavailable is safe, but not effective.”