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3 states investigating hep C-infected scrub tech

DENVER (AP) — Hundreds more patients have been advised to get tested for hepatitis C as health officials in two more states launched investigations into an infected Colorado surgery tech who allegedly swapped clean needles for dirty ones to feed her painkiller addiction.
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Fight for swine flu vaccine could get ugly

LONDON (AP) ‚  An ugly scramble is brewing over the swine flu vaccine ‚  and when it becomes available, Britain, the United States and other nations could find that the contracts they signed with pharmaceutical companies are easily broken.

Experts warn that during a global epidemic, which the world is in now, governments may be under tremendous pressure to protect their own citizens first before allowing companies to ship doses of vaccine out of the country.

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FDA probes heart problems with asthma drug Xolair

WASHINGTON (AP) ‚  Federal regulators are reviewing data that suggest the asthma medication Xolair can cause heart attacks, strokes and other potentially deadly problems.

The Food and Drug Administration says preliminary results from a study of 5,000 patients taking the drug suggests an increased risk of heart problems and stroke. The drug's manufacturer Genentech, a unit of Swiss pharmaceutical giant Roche, designed the study to track the long-term safety of the drug over five years.

A representative for Genentech says final results are not expected until 2012. The South San Francisco-based company says it will continue gathering safety information about Xolair.

The FDA says patients should continue taking the drug as directed.


Copyright 2009 The Associated Press.

 

 

Blacks are most obese group, study finds

ATLANTA (AP) ‚  Nearly 36 percent of black Americans are obese ‚  much more than other major racial or ethnic groups ‚  and that gap exists in most states, a new federal study finds.

About 29 percent of Hispanics and 24 percent of whites are obese, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported.

Racial differences in obesity rates have been reported before, and health officials were not surprised to see larger proportions of blacks tipping the scales.

But the new CDC report is the first to look at the gap on a state-by-state level, finding blacks had much higher obesity rates in 17 states, and had rates about as high or higher than other groups in another two dozen more states.

Health officials believe there are several reasons for the differences. People with lower incomes often have less access to medical care, exercise facilities and more expensive, healthier food. In many places, minorities are disproportionately poor.

But attitudes about weight also are believed to be a factor, said Dr. Liping Pan, a CDC epidemiologist.

"Black and Hispanics are more accepting of high weight," she said, adding that heavy people who are satisfied with their size are not likely to diet or exercise.

Obesity is based on the body mass index, a calculation using height and weight. A 5-foot, 9-inch adult who weighs 203 pounds would have a BMI of 30, which is considered the threshold for obesity.

The data comes from national telephone surveys of hundreds of thousands of Americans in the years 2006 through 2008.

___

On the Net:

CDC: http://www.cdc.gov


Copyright 2009 The Associated Press.

 

 

AP source: Ala doctor is pick for surgeon general

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Associated Press has learned that President Barack Obama has chosen a well-known Alabama family physician, Dr. Regina Benjamin, to be the next surgeon general.

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