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$1,000 Sovaldi now hepatitis treatment of choice

This undated handout photo provided by Gilead Sciences shows the Hepatitis-C medication Sovaldi. A $1,000-per-pill drug that insurers are reluctant to pay for has quickly become the treatment of choice for a liver-wasting viral disease that affects more than 3 million Americans. In less than six months, prescriptions for Sovaldi have eclipsed all other hepatitis-C pills combined, according to new data from IMS Health. (AP Photo/Gilead Sciences)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

'Pink Slime' Returns as Beef Prices SpikeSeveral 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

FILE - This, June 24, 2014, file photo shows people swimming on a sunny day at Mission Beach in San Diego. Stop sunbathing and using indoor tanning beds, the acting U.S. surgeon general warned in a report that cites an alarming 200 percent jump in deadly melanoma cases since 1973. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull, File)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.


Sniffer dog warning sends Australian jet passengers on a rush to flush
Australian budget airline Jetstar apologized on Wednesday after a crew member told passengers on a flight from the Gold Coast tourist strip, including some returning from a popular music festival, to flush away "anything you shouldn't have". The warning from the flight attendant that sniffer dogs and quarantine officers were on standby in Sydney prompted a rush to the plane's toilets, News Ltd reported. Jetstar, owned by Qantas Airways Ltd, said it discussed the matter with the crew member involved, who made the announcement over the plane's PA system. The airline said the flight attendant had taken a routine announcement about Australia's strict quarantine regulations, which prevent some plant and fruit materials being transported between states, too far.

India's meth addiction grows as criminals tap chemical hub

Materials on the rooftop of a house during a 'meth lab' raid in the Sivaganaga District in southern Tamil Nadu stateThe teenager sits quietly in a Mumbai rehab clinic, a victim of India's emerging fad for the drug crystal meth, which experts say is spurred by loopholes in the country's giant chemical industry. While meth has long been a scourge across east and southeast Asia, staff at the rehab centre in Mumbai's Masina Hospital say it only surfaced as a concern in the city in the past 18 to 24 months. Of late we had a small (addicted) boy aged 14 come in and he opened our eyes," said Ali Gabhrani, director of the centre. India is home to one of the world's biggest chemical industries and is a major source of key meth ingredients ephedrine and pseudoephedrine, which are both legally used in medication such as decongestants.


At least 24 reported killed in Guinea beach concert stampede
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 neighborhood 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.

Most Americans see unaccompanied immigrant kids as refugees: poll

Detainees sleep in a holding cell at a U.S. Customs and Border Protection processing facility, in Brownsville(Reuters) - Some 70 percent of Americans think the United States should provide temporary support and housing for unaccompanied Central American minors who illegally cross into the country while their cases undergo review, according to a poll released on Tuesday. Across political leanings and religious backgrounds, most Americans believe the recent influx of immigrant children should be treated like refugees if authorities think they cannot be returned home safely rather than face immediate deportation, according to the poll by the Public Religion Research Institute. The findings come as the United States struggles to cope with a mounting influx of newcomers, mostly from crime-plagued Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala. Democrats and youth were most compassionate toward the immigrant children, with roughly 80 percent of both groups saying the government should support them until their cases are fully reviewed.


Protecting the Lasting Achievement of Medicaid
Forty-nine years ago, President Lyndon B. Johnson ushered in a new American era, creating a social compact that would withstand generations when he signed two hallmark health care programs, Medicare and Medicaid, into law. On that day, Mr. Johnson reflected on the nation's duty to care for its citizens and the crippling consequences of having...

NCAA settles head-injury suit, will change rules

FILE - In this Nov. 27, 2004 file photo, Bloomington High School running back Adrian Arrington tries to clear a pile of Providence Catholic defenders during the Class 6A championship football game in Champaign, Ill. Arrington, who later went on to play at Eastern Illinois in Charleston, is the lead plaintiff in a class-action head injury lawsuit working its way through federal court in Chicago. The NCAA and the plaintiffs announced a settlement on Tuesday, July 29, 2014. (AP Photo/ Stephen Haas, File)CHICAGO (AP) — The NCAA agreed on Tuesday to help athletes with head injuries in a proposed settlement of a class-action lawsuit that college sports' governing body touted as a major step forward but that critics say doesn't go nearly far enough.


Fruit and veg: Five-a-day is OK, says study

Shoppers buy vegatables at a local Farmers Market in Annandale, Virginia, August 8, 2013British nutritionists threw down the gauntlet to dietary guidelines in April by declaring seven daily portions of fresh fruit and vegetables, rather than the recommended five, were the key to health. Every additional daily serving of fruit and vegetables reduced the average risk of premature death from all causes by five percent, the scientists found. "We found a threshold of around five servings a day of fruit and vegetables, after which the risk of death did not reduce further," said the investigators, led by Frank Hu of the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, Massachusetts. In addition to advising patients about the virtues of healthy eating, doctors should also push home the message about risks from obesity, inactivity, smoking and excessive drinking, said the paper.


23andMe lands $1.4 million grant from NIH to detect genetic roots for disease
Home genetics startup 23andMe has secured a $1.4 million two-year grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to build survey tools and expand its gene database. With these funds from NIH, an agency of the United States Department of Health and Human Services, the company intends to use its stores of genetic data for various research projects. External researchers will be able to access information on thousands of diseases and traits for more than 400,000 people. The grant "enables researchers from around the world to make genetic discoveries," Anne Wojcicki, chief executive officer of 23andMe, said in a statement.

Food writers subpoenaed in 'pink slime' lawsuit
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — Several food writers, including a New York Times reporter, have been subpoenaed as part of a company's $1.2 billion defamation lawsuit against ABC related to the network's coverage of a meat product derided as "pink slime."

Tuberculosis patient who refused treatment arrested in California
By Dan Whitcomb LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A Northern California man who refused treatment and disappeared after he was diagnosed with tuberculosis has been arrested and admitted to a local hospital under guard, law enforcement and local health officials said on Tuesday. Eduardo Rosas Cruz, 25, was ordered to remain isolated in a hotel room in Stockton, some 40 miles northeast of Sacramento, and take medication for tuberculosis in March after he was determined to have the infectious lung disease, San Joaquin County Public Health Services spokeswoman Krista Dommer said. After Cruz violated those orders by leaving the hotel, authorities concerned about spread of the contagious disease issued a public health safety warrant for his arrest, Dommer said. Cruz was taken into custody on Monday night during a traffic stop in the community of Lamont, California, about 15 miles north of Bakersfield, Kern County Sheriff's spokesman Ray Pruitt said.

Appeals court rules Mississippi abortion law unconstitutional
By Emily Le Coz JACKSON Miss. (Reuters) - A Mississippi law that would shut down the state's only abortion clinic, forcing women to go outside the state for the procedure, is unconstitutional, a federal appeals court ruled on Tuesday. Upholding a lower court's preliminary injunction against the law, a three-judge panel from the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in a 2-1 decision that the law would place an undue burden on a woman's right to seek an abortion. The law, passed in 2012, required doctors at the state's sole abortion clinic to have admitting privileges at local hospitals, a standard the clinic could not meet. Backers of the law argued that it would not stop women from seeking an abortion in a neighboring state, but the judges ruled that Mississippi couldn't rely on other states to uphold its constitutional duties.

FDA Oks expanded use of Regeneron's eye drug
(Reuters) - Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc said the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved the expanded use of its eye drug Eylea for the treatment of diabetic macular edema. Eylea is already approved in the United States to treat wet age-related macular edema — the leading cause of blindness in the elderly, and for treatment of macular edema following central retinal vein occlusion. The injectable drug has been steadily grabbing market share from Roche AG's Lucentis since its launch in late 2011.

Minnesota woman who lost husband to Ebola urges aid to fight virus

SIM missionary Nancy Writebol and her husband David are pictured in this undated handout photoBy Fiona Ortiz CHICAGO (Reuters) - The Minnesota wife of a Liberian-American man who died last week in Nigeria from the Ebola virus said on Tuesday she wants to use his memory to spur efforts to fight the disease, which has also infected two U.S. relief workers in Liberia. Decontee Sawyer, a 34-year-old counselor for sexual assault victims and mother of three small girls, said Minneapolis' large and tight-knit Liberian community has woken up to the problem of Ebola after her husband's death. Patrick Sawyer, 40, who died on Friday in Lagos, was the first recorded case of Ebola in Nigeria. "We want to encourage all Liberians and friends of Liberians to donate money or protective gear and send it to these groups that are already at the forefront in fighting Ebola," Sawyer told Reuters in a telephone interview.


No Fukushima radiation in tests off U.S. West Coast: scientists
By Courtney Sherwood PORTLAND Ore. (Reuters) - Tests of water off the U.S. West Coast have found no signs of radiation from Japan's 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster, although low levels of radiation are ultimately expected to reach the U.S. shore, scientists said on Tuesday. Results obtained this week in tests of water gathered by an Oregon conservation group and tested by East Coast scientists came in as expected with no Fukushima-linked radiation, and five more tests are planned at six-month intervals to see if radiation levels will climb. "We've seen radiation halfway across the Pacific, north of Hawaii, but in U.S. waters there has been none, yet," Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution senior scientist Ken Buesseler said. Tests of some fish species, which can race across the ocean more quickly than slow-moving currents, have shown higher levels of radiation, although radiation levels in sea life off the U.S. shore are still safe, Buesseler said.

US Ebola doctor 'weak and quite ill,' says colleague

A picture taken on July 24, 2014 shows protective gear including boots, gloves, masks and suits, drying after being used in a treatment room in MonroviaAn American doctor who has contracted the dangerous Ebola virus in Liberia is "weak and quite ill," a colleague of his told AFP on Tuesday. Kent Brantly, 33, became infected with Ebola while working with patients in the Liberian capital, Monrovia, as he helped treat victims of the worst Ebola outbreak in history. Brantly and another American healthcare worker are among the more than 1,200 people who have become infected with Ebola in West Africa since March. He is still in the early stages of the Ebola infection but having some daily struggles," David Mcray, a family medicine doctor in Fort Worth, Texas, told AFP by phone.


NCAA to settle head injury suit with $70 million fund
By Mary Wisniewski CHICAGO (Reuters) - The NCAA has agreed to settle a head injury lawsuit by providing $70 million for concussion testing and diagnosis of student athletes in a move to change the way colleges address sports safety, according to court documents filed on Tuesday. The class-action agreement, if approved by a federal judge and class members, would apply to student athletes in all sports who played at schools regulated by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) at any time in the past and up to 50 years into the future. The proposed NCAA settlement comes about three weeks after a federal judge's preliminary approval of an open-ended settlement between the National Football League and thousands of former players. While the money in the NFL settlement was intended to resolve all of the personal injury claims for the plaintiffs' out of pocket damages, Tuesday's proposed NCAA settlement was designed to pay only for research and a medical monitoring program.

U.S. Senate unanimously confirms McDonald to head veterans agency

Obama nominates McDonald to head the Veterans Administration in WashingtonThe U.S. Senate on Tuesday unanimously confirmed Bob McDonald as the next Veterans Affairs secretary, pinning Washington's hopes on the former Procter & Gamble Co chief executive to launch a massive turnaround effort at the troubled agency. McDonald, 61, replaces retired Army general Eric Shinseki, who resigned in late May amid a scandal over cover-ups of long waiting times for health-care appointments at VA hospitals and clinics across the country. The 97-0 vote to confirm McDonald comes a week after he pledged to bring corporate-style discipline and accountability to the agency, refocusing its 341,000 employees on serving veterans. "In the wake of the biggest scandal in the history of the Department of Veterans Affairs, Bob McDonald certainly has his work cut out for him," House Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Jeff Miller said after the Senate vote.


In China food testing, safety inspectors are often one step behind

A man walks out of the entrance of Husi Food factory in ShanghaiBy 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.


UPDATE 2-NCAA to settle head injury suit with $70 million fund
(Corrects amount of NFL settlement) By Mary Wisniewski CHICAGO, July 29 (Reuters) - The NCAA has agreed to settle a head injury lawsuit by providing $70 million for concussion testing and diagnosis of current and former student athletes in a move expected to change the way such injuries are handled at colleges nationwide, according to court documents filed on Tuesday. The class-action agreement, if approved by a federal judge and class members, applies to student athletes in all sports who have played at schools regulated by the National Collegiate Athletic Association at any time in the past until 50 years in the future. The settlement does not include bodily injury claims, which plaintiff's attorney Steve Berman said should be handled on an individual basis. He said the settlement is aimed at protecting student athletes on the field.

Senate confirms McDonald as VA secretary

FILE - This July 22, 2014 file photo shows Veterans Affairs Secretary nominee Robert McDonald testifying on Capitol Hill in Washington. House and Senate negotiators have approved a $17 billion compromise bill to overhaul the Department of Veterans Affairs and reform a program scandalized by veterans' long waits for health care and VA workers falsifying records to cover up delays. The action comes as the Senate is set to vote Tuesday to confirm former Procter & Gamble CEO Robert McDonald as the new VA secretary, replacing Acting Secretary Sloan Gibson. (AP Photo)The Senate on Tuesday unanimously confirmed former Procter & Gamble CEO Robert McDonald as the new Veterans Affairs secretary, with a mission to overhaul an agency beleaguered by long veterans' waits for health care and VA workers falsifying records to cover up delays.


Senators from Colorado, Washington want federal pot laws applied fairly

Employees stock their shelves with 2-gram packages of marijuana at Cannabis City during the first day of legal retail marijuana sales in Seattle, WashingtonBy Daniel Wallis DENVER (Reuters) - U.S. senators from Colorado and Washington, seeking clarity on federal rules that may affect legal marijuana businesses in their states, are urging the Obama administration to ensure federal agencies take a consistent approach to enforcement. The first pot retailers opened in Colorado at the start of this year, and in Washington earlier this month. While the federal government has said it will take a hands-off approach, assuming certain conditions are met, many would-be investors say they are put off by uncertainty over the status of marijuana businesses under federal law. In a letter to White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough and Attorney General Eric Holder, Senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell of Washington and Mark Udall and Michael Bennet of Colorado said the federal government should support their efforts to establish a successful regulatory framework.


Malaysia tries to parlay appeal to Muslim visitors into medical tourism push

A general view of Prince Court Medical Centre in Kuala LumpurBy Trinna Leong KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - Muslim tourists have long chosen Malaysia, its beaches and its malls as a holiday destination thanks to cultural affinity. Now the Southeast Asian country, where Muslims make up about 60 percent of the population, wants to parlay its visitor dividend into a bid to overtake its neighbors for the world's medical tourism crown. Malaysia is a new player in the market, competing with experienced, branded names. Most foreigners don't need to fill in a landing form." The number of foreigners seeking care in Malaysia more than doubled over five years to 770,134 in 2013.


Maryland man leaves hospital after bout with flesh-eating bacteria
By John Clarke ANNAPOLIS Md. (Reuters) - A Maryland man who nearly lost a leg and his life to a flesh-eating bacterial infection he contracted in Chesapeake Bay, has been released from hospital, a spokeswoman said on Tuesday. Rodney Donald, 66, was crabbing, swimming and kayaking in the Chesapeake Bay this month when a scrape became infected with vibrio vulnificus, an aggressive bacteria that feeds on flesh, a hospital spokeswoman said. Donald was taken to a hospital on July 11 when his right leg swelled up.

Phoenix Suns player arrested for super extreme DUI in Arizona
By David Schwartz PHOENIX (Reuters) - A Phoenix Suns basketball player has been arrested on suspicion of super extreme DUI in Arizona after attempting to drive home after a night out, authorities said on Tuesday. Forward-guard P.J. Tucker, 29, was taken to jail and released following the incident, which took place in Scottsdale on May 10 but only came to light this week, according to a police report. Police said Tucker, considered a team leader by insiders, was returning home from the W Scottsdale Hotel when he was pulled over by police after allegedly running a stop sign. Super extreme DUI is .20 or above under Arizona law.

Pfizer leaves investors guessing on intentions for Astra

A man walks past Pfizer's world headquarters in New YorkPfizer Inc , which in May abandoned its $118 billion bid for AstraZeneca Plc , on Tuesday left investors guessing whether it would renew its pursuit of its British rival, but said it was considering other deals. Under UK takeover rules, AstraZeneca can attempt to re-engage with Pfizer in August, and Pfizer can make another run at AstraZeneca in November. Pfizer officials on Tuesday gave no hints of whether they would do so, although Chief Executive Ian Read said Pfizer is not currently "doing any work on AstraZeneca" because of a six-month quiet period imposed by U.K. regulators. Pfizer officially gave up its six-month quest to buy AstraZeneca after its final bid was rejected on May 26.


Watch: NCAA Settles Class-Action Head Injury Lawsuit
The NCAA will create a $70 million fund to diagnose athletes to determine if they suffered brain trauma while playing contact sports.

Top doctor dies from Ebola after treating dozens

Ebola outbreak mapAuthorities say the top doctor treating Ebola in Sierra Leone has died from the disease.


Guards at New York City jail accused of drug trafficking
By Ellen Wulfhorst NEW YORK (Reuters) - Three guards at New York City's Rikers Island Correctional Facility have been indicted on charges of smuggling drugs into the city's largest jail complex and selling contraband to inmates, authorities said on Tuesday. The charges stem from a investigation involving wire taps and undercover agents posing as friends and family members of inmates who met up with the Department of Correction officers, according to the city Office of the Special Narcotics Prosecutor. The prosecutor's office alleged that the officers accepted contraband pills and payment from the undercover agents. Two officers face charges of drug possession and trafficking narcotics, including cocaine and the powerful painkiller oxycodone, into Rikers Island, along with other contraband, the prosecutor said.

Sierra Leone's top Ebola doctor dies from virus

Khan, head doctor fighting the deadly tropical virus Ebola in Sierra Leone, poses in FreetownBy 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 neighboring 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, diarrhea and internal and external bleeding.


Weekday heart attacks still getting quicker treatment at hospitals
By Kathryn Doyle NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - People who arrive at the hospital with a heart attack during business hours are more likely to survive than those who show up on weeknights, weekends or holidays, according to a new study. It was actually surprising how similar quality of care seemed to be for working hours and after hours in the hospital, and even for balloon angioplasty, there was only a difference of 16 minutes, said study author Dr. Jorge F. Saucedo of the NorthShore University Health System in Evanston, Illinois. In the most severe heart attacks, a blood vessel in the heart is completely blocked. In the new study, which included more than 50,000 severe heart attacks between 2007 and 2010 in the U.S., patients who arrived at the hospital during work hours took an average of 56 minutes to have angioplasty, the balloon procedure.

Adolescent stowaway found dead on U.S. military plane

Security personnel run past a C-130 aircraft on static display at the front gate of Little Rock Air Force Base in Jacksonville, Ark., Wednesday, July 23, 2014. The base has been on lockdown since late morning Wednesday. (AP Photo/Danny Johnston)The U.S. military has found the body of an adolescent male trapped in a compartment above the landing gear of a C-130 aircraft following a trip to Africa, the Pentagon said on Tuesday. The Pentagon said the body was found at Ramstein Air Base in Germany during a routine post-flight maintenance inspection on Sunday. "At this point, it is unknown where or when the deceased entered the landing gear wheel well," Kirby said, describing the apparent stow-away as "an adolescent black male, possibly of African origin." As concerns swell over an outbreak of the deadly Ebola disease in several African countries, the military also confirmed that the body was tested for communicable diseases.


Top Sierra Leone Doctor Dies of Ebola
Dr. Shek Umar contracted the virus while helping others.

Osram to cut almost 8,000 jobs in switch to LED

The logo of lamp manufacturer Osram is pictured at the headquarters in MunichGerman lighting maker Osram Licht AG announced late on Tuesday plans for a new savings program that will include almost 8,000 job cuts, or around 23 percent of its staff, as it seeks to keep up with a shift in technology. It said that the extra measures would cost around 450 million euros and could result in it missing its long-term target for a reported operating profit margin of more than 8 percent in the fiscal year to the end of September, 2015. Osram also announced third quarter results a day earlier than planned, with sales of 1.2 billion euros ($1.61 billion) and better than expected adjusted earnings before tax and interest of 104 million euros. "While earnings continue to develop nicely, the growing market acceptance of LED technology is, as already announced, causing a significantly faster decline of the traditional business," said Chief Executive Officer Wolfgang Dehen.


Hungarian competition watchdog probes Sanofi subsidiary
BUDAPEST/PARIS (Reuters) - Hungary's competition watchdog GVH has raided the Hungarian headquarters of French drug maker Sanofi as the first step of proceedings against the firm for suspected abuse of its dominant market position. A Sanofi spokeswoman confirmed that the Hungarian watchdog had searched the company's offices on July 22. The watchdog said in a statement on Tuesday it had launched the probe after Sanofi, which sells several drugs in Hungary, refused to sign a contract with a drug wholesale company. Sanofi acquired Aventis in 2004, creating Sanofi-Aventis.

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