The Health News USA October 14 2017

  • A Chicago-area soda tax went flat Wednesday, potentially putting the future of similar measures across the U.S. in jeopardy following a bitter clash between the soda industry, public officials and public health advocates. Cook County, Chicago was the sixth U.S. municipality to tax sweetened drinks, joining the likes of Philadelphia, Berkeley, Calif. and Boulder, Colo. San Francisco and Seattle are set to impose similar taxes January one.
  • There are speculations that Amazon could open “virtual retail pharmacies,” leveraging its Prime Now network for millions of U.S. consumers to buy drugs online. It would not be a huge challenge for Amazon to become a pharmacy and get added to existing pharmacy benefits managers’ networks.
  • A family has filed a lawsuit against a Minnesota hospital after their stillborn baby was found in a dirty laundry bag sent away by the facility. The boy’s mother, Esmeralda Hernandez, and several other family members filed the lawsuit against St. Paul hospital earlier this month, accusing the hospital of reckless interference with a dead body over the 2013 incident. Hernandez is seeking upwards of $50,000 for their ongoing pain.

News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the 14th of  October 2017. Read by Tabetha Moreto. Health News

https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/2017/10/11/soda-tax-fizzles-out-chicago-area-after-clash-over-health-taxes-sales/753600001/

A Chicago-area soda tax went flat Wednesday, potentially putting the future of similar measures across the U.S. in jeopardy following a bitter clash between the soda industry, public officials and public health advocates. A Cook County board committee voted fifteen to two to repeal the penny-per-ounce tax after a backlash from store owners, drink companies and bottlers. Cook County includes Chicago and many suburban areas. Supporters warned that the decision would leave a two hundred million dollar hole in the county’s two thousand eighteen fiscal year budget beginning December one. They also defended the tax as a way to reduce consumption of unhealthy sugary beverages. Opponents hailed the tax’s demise, saying it did not accomplish its stated goal of combating obesity and instead hurt low-income consumers.
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The American Heart Association accused soda companies of slinging “false claims” to mislead commissioners into repealing the tax.  Repeal “protects beverage industry profits at the expense of kids and families,” said American Heart Association CEO Nancy Brown said in a statement. “The American Heart Association will proudly continue the fight to pass sugary drink taxes across the country.” Cook County was the sixth U.S. municipality to tax sweetened drinks, joining the likes of Philadelphia, Berkeley, California and Boulder, Colorado. San Francisco and Seattle are set to impose similar taxes January one. A Cook County board spokesman said members were not available to comment Wednesday due to their full-panel meeting. The full board officially repealed the tax after a fifteen to one committee vote Tuesday.

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Opponents of the tax also said it violated the Illinois Constitution by failing to apply the tax evenly because some beverages are exempt. For example, it did not apply to sweetened coffees made by hand. Backers defended the tax as an important source of revenue for budget-strapped Cook County and argued that people would be more inclined to give up sugary sodas because of higher prices. PepsiCo, the nation’s second-largest seller of sodas behind Coca-Cola, did not immediately respond to a request seeking comment Wednesday.

https://www.cnbc.com/2017/10/11/how-amazon-could-lower-drug-prices-for-consumers–morgan-stanley.html

There are speculations that Amazon could open “virtual retail pharmacies,” leveraging its Prime Now network for millions of U.S. consumers to buy drugs online. It would not be a huge challenge for Amazon to become a pharmacy and get added to existing pharmacy benefits managers’ networks. The reason for that is that “employers are already inquiring about Amazon’s potential role,” which means that pharmacy benefits managers would be unlikely to lock Amazon out.

Secondly, the company could establish relationships with manufacturers of inexpensive generic drugs. And finally, and most critically, Amazon would build partnerships with makers of branded drugs. If the company is successful, it’s expected that the rebates and other discounts that are currently retained by companies including the pharmacy benefits managers could “pass back to consumers.”
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Late last week, CNBC reported that Amazon will make a final decision in the next four to six weeks about whether it will move into the drug supply chain. It’s still an open question for the company, as pharmacy is a huge market but is highly complex. While CVS Health, Rite Aid and Walgreens are considered to be most at risk, it’s suggested that some companies in the drug supply chain are more insulated. These include Diplomat, as Amazon might not touch the specialty drug market, and UnitedHealth’s Optum, which may be a potential partner rather than a competitor.

http://www.foxnews.com/health/2017/10/11/hospital-sued-over-stillborn-baby-found-in-dirty-laundry.html

A family has filed a lawsuit against a Minnesota hospital after their stillborn baby was found in a dirty laundry bag sent away by the facility. The boy’s mother, Esmeralda Hernandez, and several other family members filed the lawsuit against Saint Paul hospital earlier this month, accusing the hospital of reckless interference with a dead body over the two thousand thirteen incident. The baby, who was named Jose, was born at twenty two weeks gestation in April two thousand thirteen, and Hernandez had declined an autopsy but chose to have his body placed in her room overnight. Two weeks after accepting the hospital’s offer to have his body cremated, police responded to a tip about laundry workers finding a baby’s body inside of a bag sent from Regions.

The lawsuit claims that the laundry workers took photos of Jose, who was found with his identification bracelet and diaper still on. The complaint alleges that the hospital neglected to inform the family that Jose’s body had been found, and only admitted to the mistake when contacted by family members after the media began reporting on the story.  “We want to say again that we are truly sorry for our mistake,” the hospital said in a statement on Monday, according to the Pioneer Press.

Hernandez is seeking upwards of fifty thousand dollars for their ongoing pain.

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