Health Highlights: Jan. 12, 201201/12/12
Here are some of the latest health and medical news
developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:
HHS Challenges Health Insurance Premium Increases in 5
Trustmark Life Insurance Company health insurance premium
increases in five states are "unreasonable," the U.S. government
"It's time for Trustmark to immediately rescind the rates, issue refunds to consumers or publicly explain their refusal to do so," Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in a news release issued Thursday.
After an independent expert review, the Department of Health and
Human Services concluded that the company unreasonable hiked health
insurance premium by 13 percent in Alabama, Arizona, Pennsylvania,
Virginia and Wyoming.
The "excessive rate hikes" would affect nearly 10,000 people in
those states, according to HHS.
Under the new health care law, insurance companies are required
to disclose rate increases over 10 percent and justify those
Fungicide in OJ Spotted First by Coca-Cola, Company Says
Coca-Cola Co. says it discovered the fungicide carbendazim in
some orange juice products and alerted the U.S. Food and Drug
The company tested its own and competitors' products but did not
say which ones contained the fungicide, which is not approved for
use in the U.S. Coca-Cola's orange juice products include Minute
Maid and Simply Orange, while Pepsico Inc. has the Tropicana brand,
Associated Press reported.
The fungicide is used in Brazil, the biggest producer of oranges
in the world. Most orange juice products contain a blend of juice
from different sources, including Brazil.
The low levels of carbendazim found in the orange juice products
aren't a safety risk, according to the FDA. But the agency said it
will increase testing to make sure the contamination isn't a
Red Wine Researcher Accused of Scientific Fraud
An American researcher whose work reported on health benefits
associated with red wine has been accused of scientific fraud
involving 26 articles published in 11 journals.
The University of Connecticut's charge against one of its
researchers, Dipak K. Das, comes after an investigation that began
in January 2009,
The New York Times reported.
A special review board was formed after the university received
an anonymous allegation about research irregularities in Das's lab.
The board produced a 60,000-page report that says Das's published
research articles contained 145 instances of fabrication and
falsification of data.
The review board's report has been sent to the federal Office of
Research Integrity, which investigates fraud by researchers who
receive government grants,
The Times reported.
Salmonella Outbreak Linked to Chicken Livers Is Over: CDC
A multi-state outbreak of
Salmonella Heidelberg infections linked to kosher broiled
chicken livers from Schreiber Processing Corporation of Maspeth,
N.Y. appears to be over, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention.
A total of 190 illnesses were reported in six states -- 109 in
New York, 62 in New Jersey, 10 in Pennsylvania, 6 in Maryland, 2 in
Ohio and 1 in Minnesota.
The chicken livers were recalled from grocery stores but people
may still have them in their homes, the CDC said.
The agency advised consumers to check their homes for the
recalled chicken livers. No one should eat them and restaurant and
food service operators should not serve them.
J&J Unit Warned Over Faulty Insulin Pump: FDA
A unit of Johnson & Johnson could face fines and other
penalties for selling faulty insulin pumps and failing or delaying
to disclose serious injuries suffered by patients who used the
devices, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration says.
An FDA warning letter sent to J&J's Animas Corp. and posted
on the agency's website says the West Chester Pa. company never
reported one case of serious patient injury caused by a defective
insulin pump and delayed reporting two other cases, the
Associated Press reported.
All three patients were hospitalized with dangerously high blood
sugar, respiratory failure and coma, and a potentially deadly
complication called diabetic ketoacidosis, which occurs when
there's a lack of insulin to break down sugar.
The FDA ordered Animas to immediately provide a plan to correct
its failure to report within the required 30 days cases where a
device may have caused or contributed to serious injury or death,
If the company does not immediately correct the violations, it
could face fines, injunction, seizure, and lose contract awards
from federal agencies, the FDA said.
Animas' spokeswoman told the
AP that the company is "dedicated to quickly resolving the
FDA's outstanding concerns."
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