St Jude advises doctors of heart lead problems Tue,29 Nov 2011 04:55 PM PST Reuters - CHICAGO (Reuters) - St Jude Medical Inc has sent a letter to doctors advising them that its Riata leads that connect implanted defibrillators to the heart have a higher rate of insulation failures than previously reported. St Jude said in the letter that the Riata and Riata ST leads showed an insulation abrasion incident rate of 0.63 percent over nine years, higher than the 0.47 percent rate it reported a year ago. The estimated failure rate is based on an analysis of product returns and complaints for more than 227,000 Riata leads sold worldwide. ... Full Story
CVS will not fill some prescriptions for potent drugs in Florida Tue,29 Nov 2011 04:16 PM PST Reuters - ORLANDO, Fla (Reuters) - CVS has told some doctors in Florida, the nation's pill mill capital, that its retail pharmacies will no longer fill prescriptions they write for some potent and addictive drugs, a company spokesman said on Tuesday. "While we regret any inconvenience this may cause for our customers, we treat the dispensing of controlled substances with the utmost care and seriousness," CVS corporate public relations director Michael DeAngelis told Reuters in an e-mailed statement. ... Full Story
LONDON (Reuters) - British scientists believe microscopic worms which are biologically very similar to humans may be the key to helping humans colonize other planets like Mars by giving clues on coping with long-term space living. A team of scientists led by Nathaniel Szewczyk from Notthingham University blasted 4,000 of the worms, known as known as Caenorhabditis elegans, or C. elegans, into space on board the Space Shuttle Discovery, and studied their progress. ...
Analysis: Hospitals target pricey medical devices for savings Tue,29 Nov 2011 03:50 PM PST Reuters - (Reuters) - When U.S. hospitals cut expenses as the economy slid into recession, they looked first to basic supplies like lightbulbs and bandages. Next on the list: artificial hips and knees. Implantable devices make up a sizable chunk of typical hospital budgets, and administrators are devising new ways to limit that cost as they brace for cuts to government reimbursement and treat more patients who can't pay for care. That means methodically working through each category of device, from heart valve replacements and stents to spinal products, to see where they can negotiate lower prices. ... Full Story
New report highlights metal hip implant problems Tue,29 Nov 2011 03:31 PM PST Reuters - (Reuters) - Modern, all-metal hip implants appear no more effective than traditional implants and may be less safe, according to a new report, a finding that could hurt orthopedic companies that make the devices and accelerate lawsuits. The report, published Tuesday in the British Medical Journal, found that patients who received so-called metal-on-metal implants were more likely to require repeat surgery than those who received traditional implants. ... Full Story
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Michael Jackson's personal physician, Dr. Conrad Murray, on Tuesday was sentenced to four years in jail without probation for involuntary manslaughter in the pop star's death. Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Michael Pastor gave Murray the maximum sentence and said the physician engaged in "money for medicine madness that is simply not acceptable to me." Murray, 58, dressed in a gray suit with purple paisley tie, sat emotionless through the sentencing. ...
Obama administration appeals cigarette warning ruling Tue,29 Nov 2011 02:15 PM PST Reuters - WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Obama administration on Tuesday appealed a U.S. judge's ruling and injunction that blocked rules requiring tobacco companies to display graphic images on cigarette packages. Earlier this month U.S. District Judge Richard Leon sided with tobacco companies and granted a temporary injunction, saying they would likely prevail in their lawsuit challenging the requirement as unconstitutional because it compels speech in violation of the First Amendment. The Food and Drug Administration in June released nine new warnings to go into effect in September 2012. ... Full Story
Better ovarian cancer screening, still no answers Tue,29 Nov 2011 02:15 PM PST Reuters - NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - After disappointing results earlier this year, researchers say new study findings from Kentucky offer a bit of hope for ovarian cancer screening. But they still fall short of answering the important question: does ovarian cancer screening save lives? One in 72 women will get ovarian cancer at some point, usually when they are older, according to the National Cancer Institute. But in most cases symptoms don't start until the cancer has spread, making the disease harder to treat. ... Full Story
Wiping out stomach bugs offers indigestion relief Tue,29 Nov 2011 02:14 PM PST Reuters - NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Getting rid of bacteria linked to stomach ulcers may provide some relief for people with indigestion even if they don't have detectable ulcers, a new study suggests. Indigestion, also called non-ulcer stomach pain, is a common complaint, but it is not clear exactly what causes it. For people who aren't helped by lifestyle changes such as a modified diet, exercise and stress reduction, Brazilian researchers now suggests it may be worth trying a combination of heartburn drugs and antibiotics. ... Full Story
NYC caught between budget crunch and rising AIDs cost Tue,29 Nov 2011 02:14 PM PST Reuters - NEW YORK (Reuters) - Despite a budget crunch, New York City might have to increase funding for programs to help AIDS patients as its cost-cutting efforts have floundered and the state or federal governments could slice spending, a new report said on Tuesday. New York City has one of the nation's largest populations of people living with AIDS -- 66,398 patients in 2009, the most recent data available. The increase in this population has slowed from its 1990s spike to an average of about 1,669 new patients a year, according to the report by the Independent Budget Office. ... Full Story
GE Healthcare sees 2012 equipment revenue rising Tue,29 Nov 2011 02:05 PM PST Reuters - (Reuters) - General Electric Co's healthcare equipment unit expects strong sales growth in emerging markets and a moderate increase in the United States to offset a decline in Europe next year and allow an overall sales rise of 4 to 5 percent, a top executive said on Tuesday. "It's a volatile environment right now, there's no doubt about that," said Tom Gentile, who heads GE's Healthcare Systems unit, which produces high-tech medical imaging machines. "As we look at the markets we definitely see different rates of growth between the developed markets in the U.S. ... Full Story
Obama admin appeals cigarette warning ruling Tue,29 Nov 2011 02:05 PM PST Reuters - WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Obama administration on Tuesday appealed a U.S. judge's ruling and injunction that blocked tobacco companies from having to display graphic images on cigarette packs and advertising, such as a man exhaling smoke through a hole in his throat. The appeal had been widely expected after U.S. District Judge Richard Leon earlier this month sided with tobacco companies and granted a temporary injunction blocking the requirement. ... Full Story
TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan's Olympus Corp has launched a review of its business structure, according to an internal memo, amid speculation the 92-year-old company may have to sell assets in order to survive a massive accounting scandal. The maker of cameras and medical equipment is also looking to reform its corporate governance, and is setting up separate teams to supervise the two reviews, according to the November 28 memo, obtained by Reuters and later confirmed by the company. ...
Bristol/Pfizer anti-clot drug gets fast FDA review Tue,29 Nov 2011 12:35 PM PST Reuters - (Reuters) - A promising new drug shown to be better than warfarin at preventing strokes in patients with a dangerously irregular heartbeat may reach the U.S. market more quickly after health regulators gave it an expedited review. Eliquis, from Bristol-Myers Squibb Co and Pfizer Inc, would be the third new U.S. treatment for these patients after Xarelto, from Bayer and Johnson & Johnson, was approved earlier this month, and Pradaxa from Boehringer Ingelheim was approved last year. The U.S. ... Full Story
Few in US with HIV have virus under control: CDC Tue,29 Nov 2011 12:20 PM PST Reuters - CHICAGO (Reuters) - Only 28 percent of the 1.2 million Americans living with HIV have the infection under control, increasing the risk that they will spread the disease to others, U.S. health officials said on Tuesday. A big part of the problem is that one in five U.S. adult infected with HIV do not know it. Of those who are aware, only half receive ongoing medical care and treatment, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in its latest report on HIV in America. ... Full Story