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KHN First Edition: September 28, 2016


First Edition

Wednesday, September 28, 2016
Check Kaiser Health News online for the latest headlines

Today's early morning highlights from the major news organizations.

Kaiser Health News: When Drug Reviewers Leave The FDA, They Often Work For Pharma
KHN staff writer Sydney Lupkin reports: "More than a quarter of the Food and Drug Administration employees who approved cancer and hematology drugs from 2001 through 2010 left the agency and now work or consult for pharmaceutical companies, according to research published by a prominent medical journal Tuesday. Dr. Vinay Prasad, a hematologist-oncologist and assistant professor at Oregon Health and Science University, sought to understand the so-called “revolving door” between the FDA and the pharmaceutical industry, which he said is often discussed but hadn’t been quantified." (Lupkin, 9/27)

Kaiser Health News: Election Buzz: Critics Of Legal Pot Say Addiction Becomes ‘A Disease Of The Family’
Oregon Public Broadcasting's Kristian Foden-Vencil and KJZZ's Stina Sieg, in partnership with KHN and NPR, report: "If pot laws were colors, a map of the U.S. map would resemble a tie-dye T-shirt. In some states, marijuana is illegal. In others, it’s legal for medical purposes. And still in others, it is even legal for recreational use. Five more states could come into that last category this fall, as voters decide whether to legalize it in California, Nevada, Maine, Massachusetts and Arizona." (Foden-Vencil and Sieg, 9/28)

Kaiser Health News: Deadly Opioid Overwhelms First Responders And Crime Labs In Ohio
Side Effects Public Media's Jake Harper, in partnership with KHN and NPR, reports: "Jamie Landrum has been a police officer for two years in District 3 on the west side of Cincinnati. In late August, the city was hit by 174 overdoses in six days. Landrum says officers were scarce.“We were literally going from one heroin overdose, and then being on that one, and hearing someone come over [the radio] and say, ‘I have no more officers left,’ ” Landrum said. Three more people overdosed soon after that." (Harper, 9/28)

The Wall Street Journal: Health-Insurance Push Targets Young Adults
The Obama administration will use targeted, digital messages and online networks such as Twitter in a sweeping campaign to get young adults to sign up for health insurance during the Affordable Care Act’s fall open enrollment, appealing to a group seen as critical to the law’s success. The administration, which announced the new push on Tuesday, is betting the aggressive campaign will resonate with uninsured consumers age 35 and under. (Armour, 9/27)

The Washington Post: House Leaders Reach Deal On Flint Aid, Potentially Averting Shutdown
House Speaker Paul D. Ryan and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi struck a deal late Tuesday to deliver federal aid to address the water crisis in Flint, Mich., potentially removing a major flashpoint in negotiations to keep the government fully operating past Friday. Under the deal, the House will vote Wednesday on an amendment to a pending water projects bill that would authorize up to $170 million in infrastructure funds for communities like Flint whose water systems are blighted by “chemical, physical, or biological” contaminants. (DeBonis, 9/27)

The New York Times: Birth Of ‘3-Parent Baby’ A Success For Controversial Procedure
A few months ago, after a fertility procedure at a Mexican clinic, a healthy baby boy was born in New York to a couple from Jordan. It was the first live birth of a child who has been called — to the dismay of scientists who say the term is grossly misleading — a three-parent baby. ... The method used to help the couple is one that reproductive scientists have been itching to try, but it is enormously controversial because it uses genetic material from a donor in addition to that of the couple trying to conceive. (Kolata, 9/27)

The Washington Post: First-Ever Baby Born Using ‘Three Parent’ Genetic Engineering Technique
So-called three parent babies actually have more like 2.001 parents, according to experts. And the baby boy born earlier this year isn't the first child to have a little more DNA than Mom and Dad could provide on their own: An IVF technique that relied on small transfers of donor DNA was pioneered in the United States during the 1990s but was banned after fewer than 100 babies were born. This Jordanian newborn represents the first successful birth in a new wave of "three parent" techniques — ones that are more sophisticated and that will likely stick around much longer. (Feltman, 9/27)

Los Angeles Times: Baby Boy With DNA From 3 People Offers Hope For Moms Who Would Pass On Deadly Genetic Diseases
Mitochondrial DNA consists of just 37 genes, a tiny fraction of the genetic material inside a cell. Unlike nuclear DNA — which is bundled into 23 pairs of chromosomes and influences traits such as eye color, height and cancer risk — mitochondrial DNA contains instructions for the energy-producing structures inside cells. It is passed down virtually unchanged from mother to child.That was a situation the infant’s mother wanted to avoid. Her mitochondrial DNA contains mutations that cause Leigh syndrome, a neurological disorder that is usually fatal during early childhood. (Kaplan, 9/27)

The Washington Post: CDC Whistleblower Claims Agency Has Been Using Wrong Zika Test
In the midst of the fight to control Zika, the top public health agency in the United States has been engaged in an intense internal debate about the best way to test whether someone has been infected with the mosquito-borne virus. At the center of the debate at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is one of the leading experts on Zika virus. Robert Lanciotti is chief of the CDC lab responsible for developing tests to diagnose viral diseases such as Zika that are transmitted by mosquitoes, ticks and fleas. Lanciotti was demoted in May after he raised concerns inside and outside the agency about the CDC’s decision in the spring to recommend a new test for Zika. (Sun, 9/27)

The New York Times: Furor Over Drug Prices Puts Patient Advocacy Groups In Bind
Public anger over the cost of drugs has burned hot for a year, coursing through social media, popping up on the presidential campaign, and erupting in a series of congressional hearings, including one last week over the rising price of the allergy treatment EpiPen. But one set of voices has been oddly muted — the nation’s biggest patient advocacy groups. The groups wield multimillion-dollar budgets and influence on Capitol Hill, but they have been largely absent in the public debate over pricing. (Thomas, 9/27)

The Associated Press: Maryland Group Attacks High Cost Of Prescription Drugs
With EpiPens and other prescription drugs rising in cost, families who desperately need them but do not have health insurance are bearing a huge financial burden, according to community advocates. The Maryland Citizens’ Health Initiative, a coalition of more than 1,200 religious, labor, business and policy groups seeking quality and affordable health care, wants the state legislature to address that financial burden by overhauling some of the laws governing drug pricing. (Escobar, 9/27)

The Washington Post: Why EpiPens Expire So Quickly
Mylan chief executive Heather Bresch said one thing at a contentious hearing last week that should be music to the ears of people with life-threatening allergies: Her company will soon push to extend the shelf life for EpiPen. Currently, EpiPens expire 18 months from date of manufacturing. Facing criticism for the drug's rapidly rising price, Bresch said the company hopes the expiration date can be extended to a minimum of 24 months. (Johnson, 9/27)

The New York Times: Addicted Parents Get Their Fix, Even With Children Watching
It was a horrific video — a young mother who had overdosed was lying unconscious on the floor of a Family Dollar store in Lawrence, Mass. Adding a gut-wrenching kick to the scene was that the woman’s 2-year-old daughter, wearing purple footie pajamas, was tugging at her mother’s limp arm, trying to wake her up. The girl was wailing. The mother looked lifeless. (Seelye, 9/27)

The Washington Post: Drug, Crime Experts Say Posting Shocking Photos Of Unconscious Drug Addicts Is Wrong
Police in small towns in Ohio and Massachusetts may have started a trend: releasing photos of unconscious drug addicts, to dramatically show the public what officers encounter on a daily basis as opioid abuse explodes across America. The photos of a man and woman passed out in the front seat of an SUV in East Liverpool, Ohio, and video of a woman lying on the floor of a discount store in Lawrence, Mass., being prodded by a terrified child, have gone viral and brought the hard reality of addiction home to millions who’ve never imagined its real life impact. (Jackman, 9/27)

Politico: Drug Databases Are No Panacea For Opioid Crisis
In the fight against the opioid epidemic, authorities are increasingly relying on computers — state-run drug databases that can turn up evidence of abuse, like doctors who shovel prescriptions out the door indiscriminately or patients who doctor shop for pills. But while the prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMPs) help police and prosecutors, they haven’t necessarily helped address addiction as disease. (Allen, 9/27)

The Associated Press: Governor Signs Bill Targeting 'Doctor-Shopping' For Opioids
California doctors will be required to check a database of prescription narcotics before writing scripts for addictive drugs under legislation Gov. Jerry Brown signed Tuesday that aims to address the scourge of opioid abuse. The measure attempts to crack down on a practice known as "doctor-shopping," in which addicts visit multiple providers to obtain prescriptions for addictive drugs. (9/27)

The Washington Post: Coming To A Doctor’s Office Near You: Live-Streaming Your Exam With Google Glass
Jim Andrews is in a medical office wearing just a hospital gown, staring at his doctor of 11 years, who is staring back at him through the sleek, metallic lens of Google Glass. As the doctor examines Andrews, a new kind of medical scribe is watching the examination, transcribing everything he sees. The scribe, named Rahul, is thousands of miles away in India, and he is viewing the office visit live through the pint-size, WiFi-connected camera attached to the doctor’s glasses. (Dwoskin, 9/27)

The New York Times: More Than 9 In 10 People Breathe Bad Air, W.H.O. Study Says
The World Health Organization said Tuesday that 92 percent of people breathe what it classifies as unhealthy air, in another sign that atmospheric pollution is a significant threat to global public health. A new report, the W.H.O.’s most comprehensive analysis so far of outdoor air quality worldwide, also said about three million deaths a year — mostly from cardiovascular, pulmonary and other noncommunicable diseases — were linked to outdoor air pollution. (Ives, 9/27)

The Wall Street Journal: FDA Takes Step Toward New ‘Healthy’ Labeling
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday took the first step toward redefining its decades-old definition of “healthy,” following pressure from food companies that say the current regulations are outdated. Regulators are now seeking opinions from consumers, companies and other members of the public on how the term “healthy” should be used on food packaging. It’s a process that will likely take years to complete. (Gasparro, 9/27)

The Washington Post: Craving Candy Or Soda? They Could Be Harder To Find In Md. Vending Machines.
It could get a bit harder for people in Prince George’s County to buy chips, cookies or soda in county facilities, if a bill to limit those choices and stock vending machines with healthier options is embraced by the County Council. Vice Chair Dannielle M. Glaros (D-Riverdale Park) introduced the bill Tuesday, saying she wanted to address the negative health impacts of sugary and fatty foods in a county with high rates of diabetes, obesity and other chronic diseases. (Hernandez, 9/27)

NPR: Lipedema Can Cause Disfiguring Fat Deposits In Women
Judy Maggiore remembers looking in the mirror in college, perplexed by her body's disproportion. "I was skinny. I was a stick. The upper part of my body was really, really thin. You could see my ribs!" exclaims Maggiore. "But from the waist down, it was like there were two of me or something." (McClurg, 9/27)

The New York Times: A Woman Dies After Childbirth, And Her Husband Asks Why
After Amy Lam prematurely went into labor and gave birth to their baby at home, her husband, Gilbert Kwok, thought the worst was over. Once emergency responders had arrived and loaded Ms. Lam, 34, into an ambulance, the couple took photos with the newborn and called family members, smiling and elated that — despite the unexpected circumstances — their son had arrived. Less than 12 hours later, on Aug. 1, Ms. Lam was pronounced dead. She had bled to death after a series of surgical procedures at Harlem Hospital Center. (Schmidt, 9/28)

The New York Times: Americas Region Declared Free Of Endemic Measles
Global health authorities on Tuesday declared the Americas free of endemic measles, the first region to be so certified. The hemisphere’s last case of endemic measles — meaning one that did not spring from an imported strain — was in 2002. Normally, it takes three years without cases to declare a disease eradicated from a region, but in this instance it took 14 years. (McNeil, 9/27)

The Washington Post: D.C.’s Only Planned Parenthood Facility Is Open And Ready To See Patients
The only Planned Parenthood location in the nation’s capital marked its grand opening this week in a booming, semi-industrial area of Northeast Washington — an area in the center of the city that the health-care provider hopes will be accessible to people from all corners of the District. ... “There was a tremendous unmet need,” said Laura Meyers, president of Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan Washington. “With almost no advertising, patients are finding us.” (Stein, 9/27)

USA Today/Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Johnson Pushes Right-To-Try Law
Tim Wendler doesn't give up easily. More than a year after his wife, Trickett Wendler, died from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), he is giving voice to a congressional bill in her name. The Trickett Wendler Right to Try Act, authored by Republican U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, would allow terminally ill patients to receive experimental drugs — which have not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration — and where no alternative exists. There is a companion bill in the House. (Glauber, 9/27)

The New York Times: City To Pay $5.75 Million Over Death Of Mentally Ill Inmate At Rikers Island
New York City has agreed to pay $5.75 million to settle a lawsuit stemming from the 2013 death of a mentally ill inmate who was found naked and covered in urine and feces after being locked in a cell at Rikers Island for six days. The settlement in Bradley Ballard’s death is apparently the largest the city has ever paid to settle a lawsuit over the death of an inmate in city custody. (Weiser, 9/27)

Kaiser Health News is an editorially independent operating program of the Kaiser Family Foundation. (c) 2016 Kaiser Health News. All rights reserved.

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