Health Highlights: May 3, 2019
Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:
Pharmaceutical Exec Convicted of Bribing Doctors to Prescribe Opioid Spray
John Kapoor, the founder and former chairman of Insys Therapeutics, was convicted Thursday of paying doctors millions in bribes to prescribe the highly addictive fentanyl spray Subsys.
The 76-year-old was found guilty of racketeering conspiracy. Four ex-employees of the Arizona-based pharmaceutical company were also convicted, the Associated Press reported.
Among the marketing tactics revealed at the trial was the use of stripper-turned-sales-rep who gave a lap dance to a doctor.
The convictions could encourage federal officials to pursue more cases against executives of opioid manufacturers, Andrew Kolodny, co-director of opioid policy research at Brandeis University, told the AP.
Opioids include prescription painkillers such as OxyContin and illegal drugs such as heroin.
There were nearly 400,000 opioid overdose deaths in the United States between 1999 and 2017, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and an estimated 2 million people are addicted to the drugs, the AP reported.
Trump Drug Plan Will Cost Taxpayers $177 Billion: Report
Taxpayers would be on the hook for another $177 billion over 10 years under the Trump administration’s plan to make prescription drugs more affordable for older Americans.
That’s according to a report released Thursday by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.
Under the plan, drug company rebates currently paid to insurance companies and associates would instead go directly to seniors in Medicare’s Part D program when they get their prescriptions filled, the Associated Press reported.
That would reduce copays for many of those patients, according to the Trump administration.
But rather than providing wide-ranging drops in drug list prices, it’s likely that drug makers would reimburse pharmacies for discounts provided to individual seniors as they fill their prescriptions, the budget office concluded.
The Trump administration disputed the CBO findings, saying its plan should result in savings, the AP reported.
Starbucks Coffee Presses Recalled
About 230,000 Bodum + Starbucks Recycled Coffee Presses sold in the United States and 33,200 sold in Canada have been recalled because the plunger knob can break and expose the metal rod, posing an injury risk.
Starbucks has received eight reports of the plunger knob breaking in the United States and one report of the knob breaking in Canada, resulting in lacerations or puncture injuries, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) said.
The presses were sold at Starbucks stores and online at Starbucks.com between November 2016 and January 2019.
People with the presses should stop using them and contact Starbucks to find out how to return the coffee press to receive a full refund in the form of a store credit. Returns will not be accepted in stores, CPSC said.
Breast Implants Linked to Cancer Can Still be Sold in U.S.: FDA
A type of breast implant linked to cancer can still be sold in the United States, the Food and Drug Administration said Thursday.
The agency said it’s too soon to ban a type of textured implant recently linked to a rare form of lymphoma, and noted that these kinds of implants account for less than 10% of the U.S. market, the Associated Press reported.
The decision comes after a public meeting in March where dozens of women called for stronger breast implant safety measures.
The FDA said women should be given more information about the implants and is considering new patient warnings and checklists for the implants, the AP reported.