WHO urges stiff regulatory curbs on e-cigarettes
The World Health Organization (WHO) stepped up its war on "Big Tobacco" on Tuesday, calling for stiff regulation of electronic cigarettes as well as bans on indoor use, advertising and sales to minors. In a long-awaited report that will be debated by member states at a meeting in October in Moscow, the United Nations health agency also voiced concern at the concentration of the $3 billion market in the hands of transnational tobacco companies. Read more
New recommendations for overweight people with heart risks
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Overweight patients with risk factors for heart disease should be sent by their doctors for "intensive behavioral counseling" about diet or exercise, according to new recommendations from the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF). That includes overweight people with high blood pressure, high cholesterol, 'metabolic syndrome' or blood sugar levels higher then normal and on the cusp of type 2 diabetes.
Liberian doctor who received rare Ebola drug ZMapp dies
A Liberian doctor who treated victims of an Ebola epidemic and then contracted the disease himself has died even though he was given the experimental drug ZMapp, Liberia's information minister said on Monday. Abraham Borbor's death could curb optimism about the drug that mounted last week when two U.S. aid workers who caught Ebola in Liberia were declared free of the virus after receiving the same treatment at a hospital in the
E-cigarettes may be tempting non-smoking youths to smoke: CDC study
Electronic cigarettes may be more tempting to non-smoking youths than conventional cigarettes, and once young people have tried e-cigarettes they are more inclined to give regular cigarettes a try, U.S. researchers said on Monday. A report,released by a team at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, lends evidence to the argument that electronic cigarettes encourage youth smoking.
Prescription painkiller deaths fall in medical marijuana states
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Researchers aren't sure why, but in the 23 U.S. states where medical marijuana has been legalized, deaths from opioid overdoses have decreased by almost 25%, according to a new analysis. "Most of the discussion on medical marijuana has been about its effect on individuals in terms of reducing pain or other symptoms," said lead author Dr. Marcus Bachhuber in an email to Reuters Health. "The unique contribution of our study is the finding that medical marijuana laws and policies may have a broader impact on public health."
No biotech copycat drug lift off before 2017: Novartis CEO
Swiss drugmaker Novartis AG does not expect copycat versions of biotech drugs to play an important role in the healthcare system for another three to five years, its chief executive said on Monday. Novartis' generics unit Sandoz is the No. 1 player in the field of copycat medicines, known as biosimilars because they are copies of biotech medicines made from living cells that cannot be replicated exactly.
Exclusive: U.S. approval of Merck cancer immunotherapy expected soon
U.S. regulators are likely to approve Merck & Co's highly anticipated immuno-oncology drug, pembrolizumab, as a treatment for melanoma well ahead of a late October deadline, according to three sources familiar with the situation. If approved by the Food and Drug Administration, the drug would be the first in a promising new class designed to help the body's own immune system fend off cancer by blocking a protein known as Programmed Death receptor (PD-1), or a related target known as PD-L1, used by tumors to evade disease-fighting cells.
Obama plans executive steps to boost veterans' mental health care
President Barack Obama, weeks after signing legislation to fix delays in veterans' healthcare, will unveil a series of executive actions on Tuesday aimed at improving access to mental health treatment for former service members. Obama will outline the steps in a speech to the American Legion veterans' organization in Charlotte, North Carolina, the White House said. His appearance comes after he signed a $16.3 billion bill earlier this month to provide veterans with more timely medical care and fix problems in the scandal-plagued Veterans Affairs Department.
China police seize 30,000 tonnes of tainted chicken feet
Chinese police have seized over 30,000 tonnes of tainted chicken feet, common on restaurant menus in China, in the latest food scandal to hit the country. Authorities have detained 38 people involved in the sale of the chicken feet in provinces including the eastern province of Zhejiang, the official Xinhua news agency reported on Tuesday.
Russian food safety regulator shuts fifth McDonald's restaurant
Russia's food safety watchdog has ordered the temporary closure of one of McDonald's restaurants in Yekaterinburg in the Urals region, the fifth such closure in recent weeks, the fast food chain said on Tuesday. The restaurant was closed as a result of mass unscheduled inspections by Rospotrebnadzor, the regulator, a spokeswoman for McDonald's in Russia said.