Short items

Overseas students up

The number of overseas students accepted by US graduate schools has risen for the third year in a row. Worriers suggesting US competitiveness would be harmed following a 2004-5 downturn in overseas students’ applications (after terrorism-related visa restrictions) seem reassured, though there were still fewer international applicants than in 2003. And Universities UK figures show the number of non-EU students studying in the UK has more than doubled in the last decade. One in six overseas students are now Chinese. 

FDA drug safety queried

Serious adverse drug events (death or serious injury) reported to the US Food and Drug Administration nearly tripled between 1998 and 2005. Scientists writing in the Archives of Internal Medicine  said better systems were needed to manage the risks of prescription drugs. 

Grants for greenness

The American Chemical Society’s Green Chemistry Institute pharmaceutical roundtable has issued a new call for proposals in its mission to steer chemists’ work onto reactions that industry would like to see cleaned up (see Chemistry World, June 2007) Details of grants on the roundtable website; closing date 12 October. 

Go Figure 

$12.9 billion 2006 sales of Lipitor, Pfizer’s cholesterol drug, which is the world’s top-seller. Pfizer’s request for a reissue of Lipitor’s patent (which would preserve its US market exclusivity until 2011, one year more than at present) was refused by the US Patent and Trademark Office. The patent reissue was successfully challenged last year by Ranbaxy, an Indian generic drugs company.