News & Information
CDC Reports: Flu in 43 States
Thursday, January 15, 2015 12:22 PM
The flu slipped just below epidemic levels over the holidays but spread even farther across the USA and took the lives of six more children. Twenty-one children have been killed by the flu this season, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

After officially becoming an epidemic during the week of Dec. 20, the flu slipped slightly below the threshold the next week, though it is widespread in 43 states, up from 36 the week before, the CDC reported. The CDC defines an epidemic using a complex formula based on the rate of deaths from flu compared with previous years.

Alcohol Calorie Counts to be on Menus
Written by Eitor   
Wednesday, December 31, 2014 04:17 PM

New menu labeling rules from the Food and Drug Administration will require chain restaurants with 20 or more outlets to list the amount of calories in alcoholic drinks, along with other foods, on menus by next November. The idea is that people often don't know — or even think about — how many calories they are imbibing.

But the rules don't apply to drinks ordered at the bar or any drinks that aren't listed on the main menu. The wine list will also be guilt-free — individual calorie amounts aren't required there either. And unlike other beverages and foods, most bottles and cans of alcohol don't have to list full nutritional information.

Flu Deaths Hit Epidemic Threshold
Written by Editor   
Wednesday, December 31, 2014 04:15 PM

As the year draws to a close, the CDC is reporting that the flu season is well and truly underway, with the proportion of deaths attributed to pneumonia and influenza reaching the epidemic level.  In the week ended Dec. 20, 6.8% of all deaths observed through the agency's 122 Cities Mortality Reporting System were attributed to pneumonia and flu.  That matches the epidemic threshold for week 51 of 2014, calculated to be significantly higher than a seasonal baseline that uses data for the same week in the previous 5 years, the CDC reported.

At the same time, the rate of influenza-like illness, reported as a percentage of outpatient visits, is elevated both nationwide and in all 10 of the CDC's surveillance regions, the agency said in its weekly flu report. The proportion of respiratory specimens testing positive for the flu was 28.1% nationally, with a range from 11.3% to 35.9%.

Affordable Care Act Sign-Ups Near 6.4 Million
Written by Editor   
Wednesday, December 31, 2014 04:10 PM

Almost 6.4 million people selected a health-care plan on the federal marketplace or were automatically re-enrolled in the first month of the Affordable Care Act’s open-enrollment season this fall, Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell said Tuesday.

That figure compares with about 5.4 million people who had selected plans using the federal exchange in the original enrollment period of Oct. 1, 2013, through March 31, 2014.  High consumer demand in mid-December helped boost the total, which includes about 1.9 million new consumers who obtained private coverage through the federal exchange, Ms. Burwell told reporters.

She said 4.5 million people who got coverage through the federal site in 2014 were re-enrolled. Of those, more than 30% returned to the site to re-enroll while the rest were re-enrolled automatically.  The figures don’t include consumers who selected plans through state-based insurance marketplaces.

2013 Pharma R&D Spending at $112,000,000,000
Written by Editor   
Wednesday, December 31, 2014 04:09 PM

The top 30 pharma companies spent a total of $112 Billion on research as pharma's overall research investments rose by $723 Million according to a new report.  Roche topped industry spending on R&D in 2013.  The Swiss firm spent $10 Billion on research into new products, ahead of rivals such as Novartis, which spent $9.8 Billion and the $8.2 Billion spent by Johnson & Johnson (J&J).

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