Trending News Today: FDA Seeks Nicotine Reduction in Cigarettes

Top news of the day from across the health care landscape.

A Florida health care administrator has been charged for her role in a $1 million Miami Medicare fraud case, according to the Miami Herald. Bertha Blanco allegedly accepted bribes in exchange for tipping off Miami-Dade nursing home owner Philip Esformes. A criminal complaint was filed against Blanco accusing her of taking tens of thousands of dollars in cash to notify Esformes about violations so he could address them before state inspections. Blanco is the first employee of the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration to be charged with accepting bribes, making approximately $31,000 a year, according to the article.

To encourage Americans to quit smoking, the FDA is seeking to reduce the level of nicotine in cigarettes to make them less addictive, according to The Washington Post. The FDA also announced it is delaying a key regulation affecting cigars and e-cigarettes for several years, which required that the products be approved by the agency. FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said the reason for the delay is the agency needs more time to set the proper foundation for supervising these products. Gottlieb hopes the plans will eventually wean smokers off cigarettes and steer them towards less harmful alternatives, such as vaping, reported the Post.

The partnership between the NFL and the National Institutes of Health is set to expire at the end of August, with $16 million of the $30 million donated by the NFL for brain research left unspent. According to NPR, the partnership was formed soon after the suicide of linebacker Junior Seau. In a statement to ESPN, the NIH confirmed the end of the partnership and that there were no current research plans for the remaining funds from the NFL. “If [the] NFL wishes to continue to support the research at NIH, a simple donation to the NIH Gift Fund to support research on sports medicine would be favorably viewed, as long as the terms provided broad latitude in decisions about specific research programs,” the NIH stated in the NPR report. The NFL responded, stating that the league was engaged in “constructive discussions” with the fundraising arm about potential new projects and the remaining funds of the $30 million commitment, NPR reported.