Allergan's purchase of Kythera Biopharmaceuticals has been completed for about $2.1 billion. The acquisition gives Allergan access to Kythera's Kybella, or deoxycholic acid, an FDA-approved treatment for double chin.
Researchers said the 2014 National Youth Tobacco Survey showed that 7 in 10 middle- and high-school students who smoked tobacco within the last month have tried at least one flavored tobacco product. The report in the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report found 63% of middle- and high-school students smoked flavored e-cigarettes, nearly 63% tried a flavored cigar, almost 61% used flavored water pipe tobacco and about 59% tried flavored smokeless tobacco.
The city of San Francisco has become the first U.S. government body to help poor families pay for disposable diapers. A small pilot program has started, but come November it will serve approximately 1,300 families who receive state welfare benefits. The cost of diapers, estimated at $936 a year per baby, has burdened poor parents to the extent many are re-using soiled diapers, advocates say. The annual cost of the city program is put at about $479,000.
A trained assistance dog is available to comfort witnesses and complainants facing stressful situations in California's Stanislaus County court complex. Honor, a 2-year-old Labrador-golden retriever mix, is one of nearly 5,000 assistance dogs placed free of charge by the Santa Rosa-based Canine Companions for Independence.
Republican Wisconsin state Sen. Van Wanggaard drafted a bill that would prohibit ownership of some exotic animal species and require people who already have the animals to register them. Numerous states have wrestled with the issue in recent years. Restrictions are designed to protect people and animals, proponents say, while opponents say they overreach. Pennsylvania is also considering legislation addressing exotic animals.
Veterinarian Tim Baszler, who directs the diagnostic laboratory at Washington State University's College of Veterinary Medicine, said his facility has diagnosed 42 cases of bluetongue virus in Idaho and Washington state animals this year. The virus, which can lead to lung damage that results in a blue appearance to the tongue and lips, is transmitted by insects. Sheep and deer are more susceptible than cattle and goats. Dr. Baszler urged producers to prioritize insect control and work with their veterinarian on strategies to protect herds.
A USDA study found the porcine epidemic diarrhea virus that killed millions of US swine in the past two years may have been brought into the country from China in the weave of tote bags used to transport animal feed. The bags carry 1,000 to 3,000 pounds internationally and within the US. The virus could remain viable within the bags' weave for weeks, the report found, and the strain of the virus seen in the US is a near match with a strain from China. The bags are also used to ship pet treats, but no connection was found between the bags and illnesses and deaths linked to pet jerky treats.
A Government Accountability Office report argues inadequate health data standards and variation in state privacy rules are key barriers to EHR interoperability. Other factors hindering progress include costs and problems with accurately matching patient data. The report also indicated many organizations are devoting resources to meeting EHR meaningful use requirements, rather than focusing on interoperability.
The HHS inspector general's office studied a sample of HIPAA privacy cases from September 2009 to March 2011 and said the agency's Office for Civil Rights needs to improve its monitoring of whether covered entities are following the privacy rule. OCR responds to complaints rather than proactively assessing compliance, and corrective action is not documented in about 25% of cases, the audit found.
A study found that 49% of stage IV cancer patients getting palliative radiation to relieve pain and improve quality of life had more than the recommended 15 treatments, and 28% got more than 25 doses. Researchers wrote in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute that patients with private insurance were 40% more likely to get extra treatments than those who were uninsured.
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