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N. Korea bars tourists from marathon over Ebola concerns

February 22, 2015 11:06 pm | by Eric Talmadge, Associated Press | News | Comments

North Korean authorities are barring foreigners from this year's Pyongyang marathon, a popular tourist event, amid ongoing Ebola travel restrictions, the head of a travel agency that specializes in the country said Monday. Nick Bonner, co-founder of Beijing-based Koryo Tours, said more than 400 foreign runners had signed up with his agency alone for the event, which is to be held April 12.

Washington state panel mulls bill to trim vaccine exemptions

February 17, 2015 4:28 pm | by Rachel La Corte,Associated Press | News | Comments

Personal or philosophical opposition to vaccines would not be an authorized exemption for the...

Vaccine opposition has ebbed and flowed over centuries

February 14, 2015 3:49 am | by Mike Stobbe, AP Medical Writer, Associated Press | News | Comments

They're considered one of mankind's greatest medical achievements, yet people have balked at...

Debate over vaccine requirements forges strange alliance

February 6, 2015 1:13 pm | by Nicholas Riccardi, Associated Press | News | Comments

The debate over whether parents should be required to get their children vaccinated against...

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Federal health officials face tough questions on flu vaccine

February 3, 2015 1:20 pm | by Lauran Neergaard, AP Medical Writer, Associated Press | News | Comments

Federal health officials are facing questioning about why this year's flu vaccine isn't giving good protection against the winter menace. This is a particularly bad flu season, and one reason is that the most common flu strain isn't a good match to this year's vaccine. Lawmakers on Tuesday asked why the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention didn't act months ago when concerns first arose to create a better-matched vaccine.

Top 10 challenges facing global pharmaceutical supply chains

February 3, 2015 8:25 am | by Robert Polner, New York Univ. | News | Comments

Ten years after the 2005 Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness reported on the need for better coordination in the global fight against disease, global pharmaceutical supply chains remain fragmented and lack coordination, facing at least 10 fundamental challenges, according to a newly published paper.

Obama proposes "precision medicine" to end one-size-fits-all

January 30, 2015 6:18 am | by Lauran Neergaard, AP Medical Writer, Associated Press | News | Comments

President Barack Obama is calling for an investment to move away from one-size-fits-all-medicine, toward an approach that tailors treatment to your genes. The White House said Friday that Obama will ask Congress for $215 million for what he's calling a precision medicine initiative. The ambitious goal: Scientists will assemble databases of about a million volunteers to study their genetics to learn how to individualize care.

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As flu becomes more widespread, CDC pushes antiviral meds

January 9, 2015 1:37 pm | by Mike Stobbe, AP Medical Writer, Associated Press | News | Comments

In the midst of a worrisome flu season, health officials are pushing doctors to prescribe antiviral medicines. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday sent a new alert to doctors, advising prompt use of Tamiflu and other antivirals for hospitalized flu patients and those at higher risk for complications like pneumonia.

CDC: Flu season continues to worsen, could peak this month

January 5, 2015 5:35 pm | by By Mike Stobbe, AP Medical Writer, Associated Press | News | Comments

The flu is now widespread in all but seven states, and hospitalization rates match the dismal season two years ago. While health officials fear this will be an unusually bad year, it's too soon to say. The latest figures released Monday by the CDC show the flu hitting hard in most of the 43 states where the illness was widespread. But the flu was not yet rampant in populous states like California and New York.

FDA drug approvals reached 18-year high in 2014

January 2, 2015 3:39 pm | by By Matthew Perrone - AP Health Writer - Associated Press | News | Comments

The Food and Drug Administration approved 41 first-of-a-kind drugs in 2014, including a record number of medicines for rare diseases, pushing the agency's annual tally of drug approvals to its highest level in 18 years. FDA drug approvals are considered a barometer of industry innovation and the federal government's efficiency in reviewing new therapies. Last year's total was the most since the all-time high of 53 drugs approved in 1996.

U.S. looking past Ebola to prepare for next outbreak

November 23, 2014 8:59 am | by Lauran Neergaard - AP Medical Writer - Associated Press | News | Comments

The next Ebola or the next SARS. Maybe even the next HIV. Even before the Ebola epidemic in West Africa is brought under control, public health officials are girding for the next health disaster. Ebola sprang from one of those blind spots, in an area that lacks the health systems needed to detect an outbreak before it becomes a crisis.

U.S. approves new, hard-to-abuse hydrocodone pill

November 20, 2014 6:00 pm | by Matthew Perrone - AP Health Writer - Associated Press | News | Comments

U.S. government health regulators on Thursday approved the first hard-to-abuse version of the painkiller hydrocodone, offering an alternative to a similar medication that has been widely criticized for lacking such safeguards. The FDA approved Purdue Pharma's Hysingla ER for patients with severe, round-the-clock pain that cannot be managed with other treatments.

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Government wants more clinical trial results made public

November 19, 2014 3:00 pm | by Lauran Neergaard - AP Medical Writer - Associated Press | News | Comments

The government proposed new rules Wednesday to make it easier for doctors and patients to learn if clinical trials of treatments worked or not. Thousands of Americans participate in clinical trials every year, testing new treatments, comparing old ones or helping to uncover general knowledge about health. Many of the studies are reported in scientific journals and trumpeted in the news.

Heart stents may require longer blood thinner use

November 16, 2014 5:00 pm | by Marilynn Marchione - AP Chief Medical Writer - Associated Press | News | Comments

Millions of people with stents that prop open clogged heart arteries may need anti-clotting drugs much longer than the one year doctors recommend now. A large study found that continuing for another 18 months lowers the risk of heart attacks, clots and other problems. Even quitting after 30 months made a heart attack more likely, raising a question of when it's ever safe to stop.

Regulatory, scientific complexity of generic nanodrugs could delay savings for patients

November 13, 2014 8:07 am | by American Chemical Society | News | Comments

Nanomedicine is offering patients a growing arsenal of therapeutic drugs for a variety of diseases, but often at a cost of thousands of dollars a month. Generics could substantially reduce the price tag for patients—if only there were a well-defined way to make and regulate them. An article in Chemical & Engineering News (C&EN) details the challenges on the road to generic nanodrugs.

Ebola workers ask Congress for help

November 12, 2014 3:58 am | by Lauran Neergaard - Associated Press - Associated Press | News | Comments

Health workers on the front line of the Ebola crisis say the need for urgent help isn't letting up, as Congress begins considering President Barack Obama's $6.2 billion emergency aid request to fight the disease. Despite reports that the number of infections is slowing in some parts of West Africa, cases still are rising in other areas.

Medicare proposes covering lung cancer screening

November 10, 2014 5:58 pm | by Lauran Neergaard - AP Medical Writer - Associated Press | News | Comments

Medicare may soon begin paying for yearly scans to detect lung cancer in certain current or former heavy smokers. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services on Monday issued a long-awaited proposal to begin covering the screening for high-risk beneficiaries if their doctors agree they meet the criteria.

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Ebola volunteers wrestle with quarantine mandates

November 8, 2014 9:58 am | by Jennifer Peltz - Associated Press - Associated Press | News | Comments

Dr. Robert Fuller didn't hesitate to go to Indonesia to treat survivors of the 2004 tsunami, to Haiti to help after the 2010 earthquake or to the Philippines after a devastating typhoon last year. But he's given up on going to West Africa to care for Ebola patients this winter. He could make the six-week commitment sought by his go-to aid organization, International Medical Corps.

Experts, models predict more U.S. Ebola cases

November 3, 2014 10:33 am | by Associated Press, Martha Mendoza | News | Comments

Top medical experts studying the spread of Ebola say the public should expect more cases to emerge in the U.S. by year's end as infected people arrive here from West Africa, including American doctors and nurses returning from the hot zone and people fleeing from the deadly disease. But how many cases?

New restrictions for those at high Ebola risk

October 27, 2014 6:30 pm | by Mike Stobbe - AP Medical Writer - Associated Press | News | Comments

U.S. health officials are recommending that people who are at highest risk for coming down with Ebola avoid commercial travel or attending large public gatherings, even if they have no symptoms. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued the updated advice to state and local officials on Monday.

Governors back home quarantine for Ebola workers

October 27, 2014 3:28 am | by Frank Eltman - Associated Press - Associated Press | News | Comments

The governors of New York and New Jersey are at odds with scientists over Ebola as they back 21-day quarantines for medical workers returning from West Africa, while the nation's top infectious-disease expert warns that such restrictions are unnecessary and could discourage volunteers from aiding disease-ravaged countries.

Ebola airport checks expand; nurses get training

October 22, 2014 3:28 am | by Connie Cass - Associated Press - Associated Press | News | Comments

The federal government is closing a gap in Ebola screening at airports while states from New York to Texas to California work to get hospitals and nurses ready in case another patient turns up somewhere in the U.S. with the deadly disease. Under the rule going into effect Wednesday, air travelers from the West African nations must enter the U.S. through one of five airports doing special screenings and fever checks for Ebola.

Obama reviews foreign, domestic response to Ebola

October 13, 2014 6:38 pm | by Jim Kuhnhenn - Associated Press - Associated Press | News | Comments

President Barack Obama urged his top national security and public health officials on Monday to incorporate lessons from the most recent Texas Ebola infection into the U.S.'s response plans to the deadly virus. He also called on the international community to deliver assistance more quickly to the countries of West Africa that are struggling against the disease.

Is the U.S. doing enough to fight Ebola?

September 16, 2014 11:46 am | by Lauran Neergaard, The Associated Press | News | Comments

The American strategy on Ebola is two-pronged: step up desperately needed aid to West Africa and, in an unusual step, train U.S. doctors and nurses for volunteer duty in the outbreak zone. At home, the goal is to speed up medical research and put hospitals on alert should an infected traveler arrive.

New DARPA program aimed at developing customized therapies

August 28, 2014 9:11 am | News | Comments

DARPA’s new Electrical Prescriptions (ElectRx) program was among the initiatives the White House highlighted this week as President Barack Obama addressed the need for new and more effective strategies for improving the health of service members, veterans and others. ElectRx goes beyond medication, aiming to explore neuromodulation of organ functions to help the human body heal itself.

Leading scientists call for a stop to non-essential use of fluorochemicals

August 28, 2014 8:27 am | News | Comments

A number of leading international researchers, among others from the National Food Institute, Technical University of Denmark, have recommended that fluorochemicals should only be used where absolutely essential, until better methods exist to measure the chemicals and more is known about their potentially harmful effects.

Lilly psoriasis drug fares well in late-stage test

August 21, 2014 9:20 am | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

Drugmaker Eli Lilly and Co. said its potential psoriasis treatment fared better than both a fake drug and a competitor's product during late-stage testing on patients with the most common form of the skin disease. The Indianapolis-based company announced initial results from the research on Thursday and said it plans to submit the drug, ixekizumab, to regulators in the first half of next year.

AstraZeneca says DOJ closes probe into drug trial

August 19, 2014 1:23 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

British drugmaker AstraZeneca says the U.S. Dept. of Justice has closed its investigation into a clinical trial of the company's blood thinner Brilinta, and plans no further action. The company announced in October 2013 that federal officials were looking into the 18,000-patient study, which began in 2009.

Panel urges second pneumonia shot for older adults

August 13, 2014 5:20 pm | by Mike Stobbe - AP Medical Writer - Associated Press | News | Comments

A federal panel says older Americans should start getting a new vaccine against bacteria that cause pneumonia. The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices voted Wednesday to recommend a dose of the expensive new shot for people 65 and older. The panel said older adults should still get an older pneumococcal vaccine, too.

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