Finally, a Drug Label as Easy to Read as a Nutrition Fact Box

The laundry list of side effects at the end of TV drug ads, and the giant instruction sheets you get at the pharmacy, can often be befuddling. Informulary, a site launched this week in beta, is designed to fix that, and to provide an easy resource for evidence-based facts about popular medicines.

The site was founded by a team of independent researchers at Dartmouth College, who crunch data from clinical trials the Food and Drug Administration uses to approve drugs. Then they spell out the risks and benefits — in clear, plain language — on a single sheet called a DrugFactsBox like this one:

Their product is different from a lot of the drug information sites on the web for two important reasons: It's totally independent, so it's not funded by pharmaceutical companies like, for example, WebMD is. And it's presented in a meticulous but digestible format that reflects the available data behind drugs in a way that's easy to understand.

WHO takes Nigeria off global list of polio-endemic countries

Lagos (AFP) - The World Health Organization on Friday took Nigeria off the list of polio-endemic countries, hailing a "historic achievement" more than a year after the last recorded case of the disease in Africa's most populous nation. 

The announcement, made in a statement and at a meeting of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative in New York, leaves just two countries -- Pakistan and Afghanistan -- on the list. 

In declaring Nigeria "no longer polio endemic", the WHO said: "This is the first time that Nigeria has interrupted transmission of wild (naturally occurring) poliovirus, bringing the country and the African region closer than ever to being certified polio-free." 

Countries have to go at least 12 months without a case before they can be considered for removal from the list while polio-free status comes after three years without a case.

Nigeria revels in removal from list of polio-endemic nations

LAGOS, Nigeria (AP) — Nigeria on Saturday celebrated the announcement by the U.N. health agency that polio is no longer endemic in the West African country.

The news of Nigeria's progress, made by the World Health Organization on late Friday, leaves only Pakistan and its war-battered neighbor Afghanistan as countries where the disease is prevalent. Polio which can cause life-long paralysis can be prevented with a simple vaccination.

"It's a great moment for Nigeria," Dr. Tunji Funsho, chairman of Rotary International's anti-polio campaign in Nigeria, told The Associated Press. "We should celebrate but with a caveat that we should not let our guard down." He attributed the success to teamwork between government and non-governmental health organizations.

Nigeria's main goal now is maintain vigilance to make sure that Nigeria has no new polio cases in the next two years so that the WHO can declare Nigeria a polio-free country, Dr. Funsho said. "Until that happens we are not out of the woods yet," he said.

Liberia struggles to regain economic footing after Ebola

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - Liberia needs two years to regain its economic footing after it was battered by the Ebola epidemic, as it moves to boost access to electricity and infrastructure and diversify the economy, Liberia's president said in an interview on Saturday.

Liberia had been slowly rebuilding from a civil war that ended in 2003 when the Ebola epidemic erupted more than 18 months ago. The disease has since killed 4,800 people in Liberia, and a total of 11,000 people in West Africa.

"Our target is to get it done in two years," Ellen Johnson Sirleaf said of the hoped-for economic recovery, in an interview on the sidelines of the annual gathering of world leaders at the United Nations General Assembly in New York.

Liberia was declared free of the Ebola virus for a second time on Sept. 3, entering a 90-day period of heightened surveillance. 

The country was declared Ebola-free in May but more cases appeared in late June, probably via transmission from sexual contact as the virus can survive in semen well beyond the usual 21-day incubation period.