Health Highlights: Feb. 11, 201402/11/14
Here are some of the latest health and medical news
developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:
Mid-Sized Companies Get Extra Year to Comply With Affordable
Medium-sized companies will have another year before they have
to provide employees with health insurance or face tax penalties,
the Obama administration announced Monday.
The mandate will not be enforced until Jan. 1, 2016, so some
companies that have more than 50 employees will now have an extra
year to meet that requirement,
The New York Timesreported. Businesses that have less than
50 employees don't have to provide insurance to all full-time
employees and their families.
In granting more time for compliance, the federal government set
up new deadlines for three sizes of companies.
For companies with 100 or more employees, 70 percent of workers
must have the option of coverage by 2015 and 95 percent should have
that option after that, the
Timesreported. Businesses with 50 to 100 employees will have
until 2016 to provide health insurance or face tax penalties. Small
businesses with 50 employees or less will not be required to
provide coverage at any point, the newspaper said.
This latest delay in implementation follows several attempts by
the Obama administration in recent months to soften the blow of
trying to conform with the tenets of the Affordable Care Act.
More Studies Needed on Female Libido Drug: FDA
A daily pill being developed to increase women's sexual desire
will have to undergo more studies before the U.S. Food and Drug
Administration reconsiders approving the drug.
The FDA wants more data on how the drug flibanserin affects
driving ability and how it interacts with other medications, Sprout
Pharmaceuticals said Tuesday, the
Nearly 10 percent of women who took the drug during company
studies reported sleepiness.
The three studies requested by the FDA would involve only 25 to
50 patients each, according to Sprout Pharmaceuticals. The Raleigh,
N.C.-based company said its application to have flibanserin
approved will be resubmitted to the FDA in the third quarter, the
The FDA first rejected the drug in 2010 and did so again last
December. After the second refusal, Sprout filed a formal dispute
and that led to the FDA's latest request for additional data.
The drug industry has spent about 15 years trying to develop an
female version of Viagra. Previous experimental drugs focused on
hormones, but flibanserin in the first to try to boost women's
sexual desire by targeting brain chemicals that affect mood and
U.S. Drug Shortages Have Tripled: Report
The number of new and continuing annual shortages of critical
drugs in the United States nearly tripled from 2007 to 2012 and
doctors have been forced to ration some drugs or search for
alternatives, according to a U.S. Government Accountability Office
report released Monday.
It said the shortages have persisted despite the efforts of the
federal government and are most common for generic versions of
sterile injectable drugs,
The New York Timesreported.
One reason for the shortages is that drug-producing facilities
are getting older and therefore at greater risk for quality
troubles that result in temporary shut downs of production lines or
even whole factories.
The Food and Drug Administration is preventing more drug
shortages now than in previous years and averted 154 potential
shortages in 2012 compared with 35 in 2010, the accountability
office said. Even so, the number of shortages rose from 154 in 2007
to 456 in 2012,
Shirley Temple Dead at 85
Actress and diplomat Shirley Temple died Monday night at age
A publicist said she died of natural causes while surrounded by
family at her home near San Francisco,
Temple was a singer, dancer and actress who in the 1930s became
one of Hollywood's first child superstars. She was the top
box-office draw in the United States from 1935 -- the year she
turned 7 -- until 1938.
In 1974, Temple was named U.S. ambassador to Ghana and later
became ambassador to Czechoslovakia,
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