Healthcare

Walgreens pays $80M over prescription negligence

The nation's largest pharmacy chain is paying a record-setting $80 million to settle allegations that it allowed drugs like oxycodone to be purchased for abuse and to be sold on the black market.

The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) on Tuesday announced that Illinois-based Walgreens was settling claims that its negligence violated the Controlled Substances Act.

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Pharmacies say Harkin bill would give FDA unprecedented powers

Compounding pharmacies are mounting opposition to a Senate bill they say would give the Food and Drug Administration unprecedented authority over their operations, including the power to ban hormones used to treat a wide variety of ailments.

The bill, approved unanimously by the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pension Committee late last month, would give the FDA increased regulatory power over compounding manufacturers who tailor drugs’ dosages or other properties to fit specific patient needs.

The process has come under heavy scrutiny since a meningitis outbreak linked to the New England Compounding Center killed dozens of people and left hundreds sick. 

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Consumer group wants Ginkgo biloba pulled from food products

A consumer interest group wants the federal government to pull products that contain the herbal extract Ginkgo biloba from the marketplace, pointing to studies that show it could cause cancer.

The Center for Science in the Public Interest, a nonprofit health advocacy group, is warning that extracts of the plant can cause cancer and are not safe. The group wants the government to make sure that Ginkgo is removed from food and drinks.

Ginkgo, one of the most popular herbal supplements, is often taken to improve memory function and blood circulation, among other uses, but has never been definitively proven to be beneficial. In March, however, a report on studies from the National Toxicology Program found that the extract caused cancer in rats and mice. 

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FDA: Tainted food caused hepatitis outbreak in five states

Federal regulators are launching an investigation into a multi-state hepatitis outbreak believed to have stemmed from tainted frozen food.

About 30 people in five states have contracted hepatitis A, as of last Friday, and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) on Friday said they are looking into an Oregon food processing plant thought to be the source of the infections.

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Businesses share ObamaCare wellness program worries with White House

Business groups are weighing in on an ObamaCare proposal governing incentives for employees to stay healthy.

The White House is currently reviewing a proposed rule for wellness programs that give workers incentives to take part in healthy habits such as joining a gym, signing up for a weight-loss plan or participating in a scheme to stop smoking. The proposal is part of the Affordable Care Act. 

Proponents say that the programs have a documented history of lowering blood pressure, reducing cholesterol and making workers healthy. Plus, they make good business sense.

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