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European court OKs crackdown on e-cigarettes, packaging
4 May 2016 at 5:35am
BRUSSELS (AP) ? The European Union's top court dealt a blow to the tobacco industry Wednesday by approving sweeping new rules that will require plain cigarette packs, ban menthol cigarettes and regulate the growing electronic cigarette market.
Germany relaxes rules on using cannabis for medical purposes
4 May 2016 at 4:28am
Dried cannabis flowers and cannabis extracts will be available in pharmacies on prescription and the public health system will cover the cost, according to the draft bill that is expected to come into force from spring 2017. Other countries that allow cannabis use for medical purposes include Italy and the Czech Republic. Portugal has decriminalized all drugs for personal use, but does not allow cannabis use for medical purposes.
India's top court tells tobacco industry packs must carry bigger warnings
4 May 2016 at 4:25am
By Aditya Kalra NEW DELHI (Reuters) - India's top court told tobacco companies on Wednesday they must adhere to a new federal rule requiring much larger health warnings on cigarette packs, in a major setback for the $11 billion industry that opposes the new policy. The Supreme Court turned down a plea to stay implementation of the new rules introduced from April 1, which require health warnings to cover 85 percent of a cigarette pack's surface, up from 20 percent earlier. In a packed court room in New Delhi, a two-judge bench rejected the industry's plea to extend a stay it had obtained from a court in the southern Karnataka state but agreed to a request to move the rest of the appeals to the Karnataka court.
India court tells tobacco industry to adopt stricter warnings
4 May 2016 at 4:04am
India's highest court on Wednesday ordered cigarette manufacturers to comply with controversial new rules requiring bigger health warnings on packets that sparked weeks-long factory shutdowns. The tobacco industry has taken the government to court, arguing that the directives -- aimed at deterring smokers with graphic images of diseased lungs and mouth tumours -- are too harsh. In force since April 1, the stringent rules mandate an increase in the size of health warnings from the current 20 percent of the surface of a cigarette packet to up to 85 percent.
Biotech stock swoon sparks buyout interest: investor
4 May 2016 at 4:03am
The Nasdaq Biotechnology index fell 23 percent in the first three months of 2016, its worst quarterly performance since 2002, and remains down one-third from its all-time high, reached last July. Andy Acker, a portfolio manager at Janus Capital Group who helps oversee $7 billion in healthcare assets, says the sell-off led to a steep discount to the sector's value, especially at a time of major innovation in developing treatments for cancer, heart disease and other illnesses that affect millions. Janus was the 10th-biggest investor in Medivation as of the end of the year, according to Thomson Reuters data, and Acker said multiple bidders could be interested in the company.
Korea's Lotte Mart drops Reckitt Benckiser goods amid sterilizer scandal
4 May 2016 at 4:03am
By Ju-min Park SEOUL (Reuters) - A large South Korean retailer stopped ordering Reckitt Benckiser items on Wednesday and some e-commerce sites halted sales of goods made by the British giant after its humidifier sterilizers were linked to deadly lung injuries. Ata Safdar, head of Reckitt Benckiser in South Korea and Japan, bowed several times in apology. South Korea said last year that 92 people were believed to have died from causes related to the humidifier products - not all of them made by Oxy Reckitt Benckiser, the former name of the group's South Korean arm.
EU's highest court upholds restrictive new law on cigarettes
4 May 2016 at 3:44am
The EU Court of Justice's rejection of a legal challenge brought by Philip Morris International and British American Tobacco (BAT), could weigh on profits for the industry and sets a precedent for other governments to crack down on a habit that causes nearly six million deaths a year worldwide. "The court finds that, in providing that each unit packet and the outside packaging must carry health warnings ... the EU legislature did not go beyond the limits of what is appropriate and necessary," the court said in its decision. The legal challenge, which was also supported by Japan Tobacco International and Imperial Brands, can now be taken no further and the Tobacco Products Directive (TPD) will take effect on 20 May, though wholesalers and retailers will be given a year's grace to sell stocks manufactured before that date.
Obama visits Flint as questions linger on EPA role in water crisis
4 May 2016 at 3:13am
By Timothy Gardner WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama on Wednesday will visit Flint, Michigan, a city struggling with the effects of lead-poisoned drinking water, as questions linger over whether his environmental regulators could have acted more urgently to address the crisis. Obama will get updates from federal officials on the response in Flint, a mostly African-American city where more than 40 percent of the city's 100,000 people live in poverty. "Like you, I'll use my voice to call for change and help lift up your community," Obama wrote last week to Amariyanna Copeny, an eight-year-old Flint girl who has marched in protests about the crisis and had asked to meet him.
Abraaj exits investment in Tunisian pharma firm via IPO
4 May 2016 at 3:00am
DUBAI (Reuters) - Abraaj Group has exited its investment in Tunisia's second largest pharmaceutical company Unimed through an initial public offering (IPO) on the Tunis Stock Exchange, the Dubai-based private equity investor said on Wednesday. Unimed's IPO was priced at 11.8 Tunisian dinars a share, and was oversubscribed by 32.6 times, Abraaj said in an emailed statement. Unimed specialises in sterile dosage forms, such as intravenous solutions, and opthalmic products for global companies including Pfizer and Mylan. ...
Amid scandal, China military hospital closes doors to new patients
4 May 2016 at 2:41am
A Chinese military hospital, embroiled in a scandal over the death of a college student who had sought experimental cancer treatment at the facility, has temporarily closed its doors to new patients, state media reported on Wednesday. The Second Hospital of Beijing Armed Police Corps has stopped new admissions, the state-run People's Daily said in a post on its official microblog, a day after the health ministry launched an investigation into the hospital. The student, Wei Zexi, 21, died last month of a rare form of cancer.
North Korea hails anti-smoking progress; leader Kim keeps puffing
4 May 2016 at 2:24am
North Korea said on Wednesday a campaign was helping to cut the number of smokers, although its leader Kim Jong Un is frequently seen with a cigarette in hand in photographs in state media. The government has cut the total area planted with tobacco "as much as possible" and health warnings are required on cigarette packs, the North's official KCNA news agency said. "The number of non-smokers is remarkably increasing with each passing day," KCNA said, adding the number of male smokers was 8 percent lower in 2013 compared with four years earlier.
EU court upholds new tobacco laws on packaging, menthol cigarettes
4 May 2016 at 2:07am
The EU's top court on Wednesday ruled that the bloc's new laws on plain tobacco packaging and a ban on menthol cigarettes were legal, rejecting a challenge by tobacco giant Philip Morris and others. Philip Morris, maker of iconic brands such as Marlboro, and the Polish government had lodged appeals against a tobacco directive adopted by the 28-nation European Union in 2014. "The new EU directive on tobacco products is valid," the Luxembourg-based European Court of Justice said.
Philip Morris uses chemical industry consultants to perpetuate 'light cigaret...
4 May 2016 at 2:00am
Philip Morris has been hiring chemical industry consultants to claim in lawsuits that "light" cigarettes are safer than regular ones.
Apple gets Google X lab co-founder for health projects
4 May 2016 at 12:57am
Apple confirmed Tuesday that it has hired robotics star and Google X lab co-founder Yoky Matsuoka to work on health projects. Matsuoka, a winner of the MacArthur genius award, last year left her job as a vice president at Google-owned Nest. Matsuoka will answer to Apple chief operating officer Jeff Williams, who oversees health projects, including software kits that let application makers or researchers take advantage of capabilities of the iPhone and the Apple Watch.
Kenyan court to hear case against alleged gay anal examinations
3 May 2016 at 11:55pm
Two men are seeking a Kenyan court ruling declaring enforced anal examinations unconstitutional after they were subjected to such tests last year to see if they had been involved in gay sex, the men's lawyer said on Tuesday. Rights activists have condemned the examinations as inhuman and humiliating. New York-based Human Rights Watch said such coerced examinations might amount to torture under international law.