Health Updates 23 September 2011

  • Perry and Romney spar over health care in GOP debate: “Perry was less adamant about his bid to have pre-teen Texas girls vaccinated against a sexually transmitted virus that can cause cervical cancer….Perry said he should have made the program more flexible.  ‘I erred on the side of life’, he said, ‘and I will always err on the side of life’.  Romney, who spent four years as Massachusetts governor, again had to defend his initiative that required residents to buy health insurance or pay a fine.  Perry called it a model for ‘Obamacare‘, the 2010 federal health care overhaul that all the GOP candidates oppose.  Romney said his position all along was ‘this is a state plan for a state, it is not a national plan’.” (Associated Press)
  • Bedbug solution may be more harmful than problem: “Intensive but nonprofessional use of pesticides to control bedbugs probably contributed to the death of a 65-year-old woman in North Carolina, the CDC reported….But the case is extreme….The most frequently reported symptoms were neurologic, including headache and dizziness, and respiratory, including upper respiratory tract pain or irritation and shortness of breath – both at 40%.  Some 33% of symptoms were gastrointestinal, including nausea and vomiting.”  Contributing factors: excessive application of insecticide, failure to wash or change pesticide-treated bedding; inadequate notification of pesticide application.  It is also thought the illnesses associated with insecticide use might be under-reported. (Michael Smith, MedPage Today)
  • FDA notes Primatene Mist market departure: “The FDA issued a reminder to physicians and patients that the only over-the-counter inhaler for asthma symptom relief will be gone from the market on Dec. 31, as part of an international ban on its chlorofluorocarbon (CFC)  propellant.  That is the last date that Primatene Mist, delivering aerolized epinephrine, can legally be sold in the US…”.  Patients who use the product will likely be re-directed by their doctors to prescription inhalers for short-term symptom relief. (John Gever, MedPage Today)
  • Hospitals face price-gouging on drugs: “The shortages, mainly involving widely used generic injected drugs that ordinarily are cheap, have been delaying surgeries and cancer treatments, leaving patients in unnecessary pain and forcing hospitals to give less effective treatments.  That’s resulted in complications and longer hospital stays.” (Associated Press)

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