Health Highlights: March 7, 201203/07/12
Here are some of the latest health and medical news
developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:
Prices of Seniors' Drugs Rise Nearly 26 Percent: Report
The cost of medicines used by many older Americans increased
nearly 26 percent between 2005 and 2009, according to an AARP
The increase was nearly twice the rate of inflation, according
to the analysis of the retail prices of 514 brand name and generic
drugs most commonly used by Medicare recipients,
The New York Times reported Tuesday.
While the prices of generic drugs fell nearly 31 percent during
the study period, the prices of brand name drugs rose by nearly 41
percent, and the prices of specialty drugs increased by more than
48 percent, AARP said.
In comparison, the rate of inflation grew by just over 13
percent between 2005 and 2009, the
Drug industry officials criticized the AARP study, and said the
increased availability of generic drugs has slowed the increase in
drug prices in recent years, the newspaper reported.
FDA Sends Warning Letter to Inhalable Caffeine Maker
A warning letter has been sent to the maker of the inhalable
caffeine product AeroShot, U.S. Food and Drug Administration
The letter raises questions about the safety of the product and
concerns about how children and teens may use it, the
Associated Press reported.
AeroShot, which went on sale in January in Massachusetts and New
York, comes in a plastic canister. Consumers put one end of the
canister in their mouths and inhale a fine powder that
In the letter, the FDA said the Massachusetts company that makes
AeroShot misled consumers by claiming that the powder can be both
inhaled and ingested, which is not possible, the
The FDA is also concerned that people may try to inhale the
product into their lungs, which may not be safe, and noted that the
company issued differing statements on the appropriate age for
Group Wants FDA to Ban Caramel Coloring in Sodas
The use of caramel coloring in popular soda drinks such as Coke
and Pepsi should be banned due to a possible cancer risk, the
consumer advocacy group Center for Science in the Public Interest
says in a letter to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
In the letter, CSPI says lab tests found that the average level
of 4-methylimidazole (4-MI) in 12-ounce servings of regular and
diet Coke, Pepsi, Dr. Pepper and Whole Foods 365 cola was 138
micrograms, far above the 29 microgram limit recommended by the
state of California, the
Los Angeles Times reported.
The average level of 4-MI indicated a lifetime cancer risk of
five out of 100,000 people, according to the letter. That risk may
be higher if people who don't drink sodas aren't included in the
CSPI says 4-MI -- which is formed when sugar is mixed with
ammonia and sulfites to create the caramel coloring that gives
colas their familiar brown color -- has been shown to cause lung,
liver and thyroid cancer in mice and rats, the
The American Beverage Association said the CSPI letter is a
"scare tactic," and noted that regulatory agencies worldwide
"consider caramel coloring safe for use in foods and
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