The Health News USA January 13 2018

  • The FDA said Thursday that cough medications that contain opioids like codeine should never be given by kids, and the medicines will now need to be labeled to make that clear. They will also carry bigger warnings about their dangers to adults. Codeine is not easily available over the counter in the United States. It’s regulated by states, not the FDA, but is a controlled substance that usually must be prescribed.
  • A South Texas mayor and three other men have been indicted on federal charges that they conspired to fraudulently bill Medicare for more than $150 million in hospice and home health services. Federal prosecutors announced Wednesday that Rio Bravo Mayor Francisco Pena and the others each are charged with conspiracy to commit health care fraud.
  • An outbreak of hepatitis A has spread from Southern California to states across the country, killing dozens of people and potentially sickening thousands. Michigan has been hardest-hit in terms of deaths, with 22. The outbreak there began in August 2016 and, after a drop off during the winter, continued to climb last year, according to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. As of January 4, there have been 658 cases in Southeast Michigan.

News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the 13th of January 2018. Read by Tabetha Moreto.

https://www.nbcnews.com/health/health-news/keep-these-cough-medicines-away-kids-fda-says-n836866

The Food and Drug Administration said Thursday that cough medications that contain opioids like codeine should never be given by kids, and the medicines will now need to be labeled to make that clear. They will also carry bigger warnings about their dangers to adults. The FDA said in a statement: “The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is requiring safety labeling changes for prescription cough and cold medicines containing codeine to limit the use of these products to adults eighteen years and older because the risks of these medicines outweigh their benefits in children younger than eighteen.”
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Codeine is not easily available over the counter in the United States. It’s regulated by states, not the FDA, but is a controlled substance that usually must be prescribed. Pediatricians have mixed feelings about cough and cold remedies for kids in general. The FDA advises against giving any over-the-counter cold, flu and cough remedies to children under two, and the Infectious Diseases Society of America says don’t give them to children under four. The FDA persuaded drug companies to voluntarily take over-the-counter cough and cold drugs for infants off the market in two thousand seven.
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The American Academy of Pediatrics has been warning about codeine since nineteen ninety seven. The World Health Organization has ditched the drug from its recommended list of painkillers for kids and health agencies in Europe and Canada have restricted codeine use to people older than twelve.

http://www.miamiherald.com/news/politics-government/national-politics/article194126024.html

A South Texas mayor and three other men have been indicted on federal charges that they conspired to fraudulently bill Medicare for more than one hundred fifty million dollars in hospice and home health services. Federal prosecutors announced Wednesday that Rio Bravo Mayor Francisco Pena and the others each are charged with conspiracy to commit health care fraud. Additional charges include one of obstructing a health care investigation filed against the eighty two-year-old Pena.

One of the men owned a collection of health care entities for which Pena, a licensed physician, served as the medical director. Authorities say kickbacks and bribes were paid to medical directors, including Pena, for certifying that patients qualified for services when they actually did not.

http://edition.cnn.com/2018/01/11/health/hepatitis-a-outbreak-michigan-bn/index.html

An outbreak of hepatitis A has spread from Southern California to states across the country, killing dozens of people and potentially sickening thousands. Michigan has been hardest-hit in terms of deaths, with twenty two.

The outbreak there began in August two thousand sixteen and, after a drop off during the winter, continued to climb last year, according to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. As of January four, there have been six hundred fifty eight cases in Southeast Michigan. Fighting the outbreak was challenging in many jurisdictions due to a national shortage of the vaccine for hepatitis A.

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Officials say that the outbreak can be traced to transient camps and illicit drug users in San Diego. Now, California is in the middle of the biggest person-to-person outbreak of hepatitis A since the vaccine first became available in the mid-nineties, according to the California Department of Public Health. Though the virus has spread across the state, San Diego has seen the most deaths: twenty one, out of a reported six hundred eighty six cases.
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Outbreaks of hepatitis A are normally small, because the vast majority of the US population was inoculated at approximately one year old. GlaxoSmithKline and Merck are the only companies approved by the Food and Drug Administration to sell a hepatitis A adult or pediatric vaccine in the US. The current outbreaks of hepatitis A, virus genotype IB, is normally not found in the US; it’s more common to the Mediterranean, Turkey and South Africa. However, the current vaccine is effective against all strains of the virus.

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