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The Lead

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.

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...

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...

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...

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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.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

FDA approves first DNA-based test for colon cancer

August 11, 2014 5:22 pm | by Matthew Perrone - AP Health Writer - Associated Press | News | Comments

The Food and Drug Administration has approved the first screening test for colon cancer that uses patient DNA to help spot potentially deadly tumors and growths. The Cologuard test from Exact Sciences detects irregular mutations in a patient's stool sample that can be an early warning sign of cancer. Patients who test positive for the mutations should undergo a colonoscopy to confirm the results.

Ethical issue: Who gets experimental Ebola drug?

August 6, 2014 5:25 pm | by Lauran Neergaard - AP Medical Writer - Associated Press | News | Comments

The use of an experimental drug to treat two Americans diagnosed with Ebola is raising ethical questions about who gets first access to unproven new therapies for the deadly disease. But some health experts fear debate over extremely limited doses will distract from tried-and-true measures to curb the growing outbreak.

$1,000 pill now hepatitis C treatment of choice

July 29, 2014 3:19 am | by Ricardo Alonso-zaldivar - Associated Press - Associated Press | News | Comments

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 three 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.

Medical marijuana researcher fired by university

July 18, 2014 9:21 pm | by Astrid Galvan - Associated Press - Associated Press | News | Comments

Veterans, medical marijuana activists and scientists welcomed the first federally approved research into pot as a treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder. But their hopes for the research were dashed when the Univ. of Arizona fired researcher Suzanne Sisley, who undertook the study after clearing four years of bureaucratic hurdles.

Better use of electronic health records makes clinical trials less expensive

July 11, 2014 12:40 pm | News | Comments

According to recent research in the U.K. , use of electronic health records to understand the best available treatment for patients, from a range of possible options, is more efficient and less costly for taxpayers than the existing clinical trial process.

FDA grapples with oversight of fecal transplants

June 26, 2014 12:18 pm | by Matthew Perrone - AP Health Writer - Associated Press | News | Comments

Imagine a low-cost treatment for a life-threatening infection that could cure up to 90% of patients with minimal side effects, often in a few days.It may sound like a miracle drug, but this cutting-edge treatment is profoundly simple—though somewhat icky: take the stool of healthy patients to cure those with hard-to-treat intestinal infections.

Panel: Flu spray better than shots for young kids

June 25, 2014 3:23 pm | by Mike Stobbe - AP Medical Writer - Associated Press | News | Comments

When it comes to flu vaccines, a federal panel says a squirt in the nose is better than a shot in the arm for young children. The advisory panel agreed Wednesday to tell doctors that FluMist nasal spray is a bit better at preventing flu in healthy young kids. The advice is specific to children ages 2 through 8.

FDA outlines policy for overseeing nanotechnology

June 24, 2014 3:23 pm | by Matthew Perrone - AP Health Writer - Associated Press | News | Comments

Federal regulators want to hear from companies using engineered micro-particles in their products, part of an effort to stay abreast of the growing field of nanotechnology. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued final recommendations Tuesday for companies using nanotechnology in products regulated by the government, which can include medical therapies, food and cosmetics.

Feds seek ways to expand use of addiction drug

June 18, 2014 2:22 pm | by Matthew Perrone - AP Health Writer - Associated Press | News | Comments

The government's top drug abuse experts are struggling to find ways to expand use of a medicine widely considered the best therapy for treating heroin and painkiller addiction, but which remains underused. Senator Carl Levin of Michigan on Wednesday pressed government officials and agencies to increase access to the buprenorphine, a drug which helps addicts control drug cravings and withdrawal symptoms.

Reports: Advances in microbial forensics needed to respond to outbreaks

June 10, 2014 9:53 am | News | Comments

Much as human DNA can be used as evidence in criminal trials, genetic information about microorganisms can be analyzed to identify pathogens or other biological agents in the event of a suspicious disease outbreak. The tools and methods used to investigate such outbreaks belong to the new field of microbial forensics, but the field faces substantial scientific and technical challenges, says a new report from the National Research Council.

Health insurers just say no to marijuana coverage

May 8, 2014 10:27 am | by Tom Murphy - AP Business Writer - Associated Press | News | Comments

Patients who use medical marijuana for pain and other chronic symptoms can take an unwanted hit: Insurers don't cover the treatment, which costs as much as $1,000 a month. Once the drug of choice for hippies and rebellious teens, marijuana in recent years has gained more mainstream acceptance for its ability to boost appetite, dull pain and reduce seizures in everyone from epilepsy to cancer patients.

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