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$1,000 Sovaldi now hepatitis treatment of choice
29 Jul 2014 at 3:47pm
WASHINGTON (AP) ? The price is sky-high, but so is demand. A new $1,000-per-pill drug has become the treatment of choice for Americans with hepatitis C, a liver-wasting disease that affects more than 3 million.
5 food writers subpoenaed in 'pink slime' lawsuit
29 Jul 2014 at 5:54pm
Several food writers, including a New York Times reporter, have been subpoenaed by a meat producer as part of its $1.2 billion defamation lawsuit against ABC in regards to the network's coverage of a beef product dubbed "pink slime" by critics.
Generation of tanners see spike in deadly melanoma
29 Jul 2014 at 6:30pm
WASHINGTON (AP) ? Stop sunbathing and using indoor tanning beds, the acting U.S. surgeon general warned in a report released Tuesday that cites an alarming 200 percent jump in deadly melanoma cases since 1973.
Sanofi, Regeneron drug cuts cholesterol in nine late-stage trials
30 Jul 2014 at 5:06am
By Natalie Huet PARIS (Reuters) - A new drug being developed by French drugmaker Sanofi and U.S. partner Regeneron cut "bad" LDL cholesterol more than placebo and existing treatments in nine late-stage clinical trials, the companies said on Wednesday. The injectable drug, called alirocumab, is from a promising new class of medicines, called PCSK9 inhibitors, also being developed by Amgen Inc and other drugmakers. The Phase III ODYSSEY trials showed that after 24 weeks, the mean percentage reduction in LDL cholesterol with alirocumab was consistent with results seen in previous trials, the companies said in a statement. The trials involved patients whose high LDL cholesterol levels are not sufficiently controlled by existing treatments such as statins, who cannot tolerate these or who present a high or very high cardiovascular risk.
AstraZeneca buys Almirall lung drugs for up to $2.1 billion
30 Jul 2014 at 4:51am
By Ben Hirschler LONDON (Reuters) - AstraZeneca took a major step to build up its respiratory medicine business on Wednesday by striking a deal worth up to $2.1 billion for the rights to Spanish group Almirall's lung drugs. The British drugmaker, which resisted a $118 billion takeover attempt by Pfizer in May, said it would pay an initial $875 million and up to $1.22 billion more if the drugs meet development and sales targets. The tie-up boosts a key therapeutic area for AstraZeneca, whose Chief Executive Pascal Soriot is determined to show his company has a strong independent future. Soriot also struck a clinical trial collaboration with Japan's Kyowa Hakko Kirin for a study that will evaluate a combination of the two companies' drugs in cancer - another important field for AstraZeneca.
Humana says profit fell on health reform, drug costs
30 Jul 2014 at 3:55am
(Reuters) - U.S. health insurer Humana Inc said on Wednesday that second-quarter profit fell due to investments in the exchanges created under President Barack Obama's healthcare reform law as well as costly new hepatitis C drug treatments. Humana said membership growth and a lower share count due to stock buybacks had helped offset some of the new costs. Most of Humana's revenue is from Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D, the privately run medical and drug plans under the government health program for older people and the disabled. Humana said revenue rose 18 percent to $12.2 billion.
WellPoint second-quarter profit falls but beats estimates
30 Jul 2014 at 3:25am
(Reuters) - U.S. health insurer WellPoint Inc said on Wednesday that profit fell in the second quarter, partly because of some higher administrative costs stemming from the healthcare reform law and new fees, but it still came in ahead of Wall Street estimates. WellPoint, which runs Anthem and Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield Plans, said net income fell to $731 million, or $2.56 per share, from $800 million, or $2.64 per share, a year earlier. WellPoint is the third large health insurer to beat analysts' earnings estimates for the quarter, although investors have watched reports closely for signs that costs may be rising. WellPoint said it spent 82.7 percent of the premiums that it brought in on medical claims in what is known as the medical benefit expense ratio.
Koch-backed seniors group low-balling election spending?
30 Jul 2014 at 2:00am
The 60 Plus Association tells the IRS it barely spends money on politics ? despite funding millions in candidate attack ads.
UK Foreign Secretary says Ebola outbreak "a threat" to Britain
30 Jul 2014 at 1:42am
LONDON (Reuters) - British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said he would hold a top-level government meeting to discuss the outbreak of the highly-infectious Ebola virus across West Africa which he warned posed a threat to Britain. "It is a threat. It is something we need to respond to," Hammond told BBC TV. Ebola is believed to have killed 672 people in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone since the outbreak began in February, according to the World Health Organisation. ...
Sierra Leone's top Ebola doctor dies from virus
30 Jul 2014 at 1:39am
By Umaru Fofana and Adam Bailes FREETOWN (Reuters) - The doctor leading Sierra Leone's fight against the worst Ebola outbreak on record died from the virus on Tuesday, the country's chief medical officer said. The death of Sheik Umar Khan, who was credited with treating more than 100 patients, follows those of dozens of local health workers and the infection of two American medics in neighbouring Liberia, highlighting the dangers faced by staff trying to halt the disease's spread across West Africa. Ebola is believed to have killed 672 people in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone since the outbreak began in February, according to the World Health Organisation. The contagious disease, which has no known cure, has symptoms that include vomiting, diarrhoea and internal and external bleeding.
Hammond says Ebola outbreak 'a threat' to Britain
30 Jul 2014 at 12:33am
Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said he would hold a top-level government meeting to discuss the outbreak of the highly-infectious Ebola virus across West Africa which he warned posed a threat to Britain. Ebola is believed to have killed 672 people in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone since the outbreak began in February, according to the World Health Organisation. Hammond said no British citizens were believed to be affected and no cases had been reported in Britain, but said he would chair an emergency meeting of officials on Wednesday to look at what precautions were needed.
House set to take up $17B VA overhaul bill
30 Jul 2014 at 12:17am
WASHINGTON (AP) ? With a new Veterans Affairs secretary in place and an August recess looming, Congress is likely to move quickly to approve a compromise bill to refurbish the VA and improve veterans' health care.
Pacific islanders battle the bulge as obesity toll grows
29 Jul 2014 at 11:46pm
The new chairman of the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) said Wednesday that he was determined to change the unhealthy lifestyle choices that have made his region the fattest in the world. Palau President Tommy Remengesau said that junk food had become a blight on Pacific island communities, leading to epidemic rates of heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure among an increasingly obese population. In a region that was once legendary for its muscular warriors and lithe womenfolk, Remengesau said he feared a generation of Pacific islanders had already been lost to such non-communicable diseases (NCDs). Remengesau took over chairmanship of the PIF at a ceremony in Palau on Tuesday night, and was out and about in the capital Koror before dawn Wednesday morning spreading his healthy lifestyle message.
At least 24 reported killed in Guinea beach concert stampede
29 Jul 2014 at 11:29pm
At least 24 people were killed in a stampede at a beachside concert celebrating the end of Ramadan in Guinea's capital, news agency AFP said, with Guinea's Presidency declaring a week of mourning after what it described as a "tragic drama". A statement from the Presidency said the incident occurred at a beach in the Ratoma neighbourhood of the capital, Conakry. The stampede, which occurred during celebrations to mark the end of the holy fasting month of Ramadan in mainly Muslim Guinea, comes at a time when health workers are already stretched by an outbreak of Ebola.
In China food testing, safety inspectors are often one step behind
29 Jul 2014 at 10:46pm
By Adam Jourdan and Clare Baldwin SHANGHAI/HONG KONG (Reuters) - When inspectors visited Shanghai Husi Food Co Ltd earlier this summer, the production line at the plant now at the centre of an international food scandal appeared in good order, with fresh meat being handled by properly-attired workers and supervisors keeping a watchful eye over the process. On July 20, following an undercover local TV report that alleged workers used expired meat and doctored food production dates, regulators closed the factory, which is part of OSI Group LLC, a U.S. food supplier. Police have detained five people including Shanghai Husi's head and quality manager. The scandal - which has hit mainly big foreign fast-food brands including McDonald's Corp and Yum Brands Inc, which owns the KFC and Pizza Hut chains - underlines the challenges facing inspectors in China's fast-growing and sprawling food industry.