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Thursday, Apr 24th

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Broader medical refusal rule may go far beyond abortion

The outgoing Bush administration is planning to announce a broad new "right of conscience" rule permitting medical facilities, doctors, nurses, pharmacists and other healthcare workers to refuse to participate in any procedure they find morally objectionable, including abortion and possibly even artificial insemination and birth control.

For more than 30 years, federal law has dictated that doctors and nurses may refuse to perform abortions. The new rule would go further by making clear that healthcare workers also may refuse to provide information or advice to patients who might want an abortion.

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Generic Heart Drugs as Good as Brand-Name Counterparts

Brand-name drugs used to treat cardiovascular disease are no better than generics, a new review of available evidence shows.

Yet a number of editorials in medical journals, written by specialists, have urged against substituting the less expensive generics for their designer counterparts.

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TV, Internet Causing Kids Harm: Report

There's a strong link between media exposure and childhood obesity, smoking and sexual activity, according to U.S. researchers who reviewed 173 studies on media and health conducted over the past three decades.

According to the review, 80 percent of the studies concluded that higher amounts of television and other media exposure were associated with negative health effects in children and adolescents. The strongest association was between media and obesity. Of the 73 studies that examined media/childhood weight, 86 percent showed a significant association between increased media exposure and obesity.

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Drug firms 'block cheap medicine'

Drug companies are blocking or delaying the entry of cheaper generic medicines into the EU, pushing up medicine bills, the European Commission has said.

Their actions cost EU healthcare providers 3bn euros ($3.9bn; £2.5bn) in savings between 2000 and 2007, it said.

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Experts Say US Health-Care System Inefficient, Wasteful

Talk to the chief executives of America's preeminent health-care institutions, and you might be surprised by what you hear: When it comes to medical care, the United States isn't getting its money's worth. Not even close.

"We're not getting what we pay for," says Denis Cortese, president and chief executive of the Mayo Clinic. "It's just that simple."

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FTC tosses guidance on tar, nicotine in cigarettes

The cigarette industry for 42 years has made factual claims about tar and nicotine levels based on machine testing blessed by the Federal Trade Commission.

"Our action today ensures that tobacco companies may not wrap their misleading tar and nicotine ratings in a cloak of government sponsorship," said Commissioner Jon Leibowitz. "Simply put, the FTC will not be a smokescreen for tobacco companies' shameful marketing practices."

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Israeli world first: Surgeons weld wounds shut with surgical laser

Surgeons of the future may have to learn welding rather than sewing, now that a team of applied physicists at Tel Aviv University have developed an efficient and safe way to close incisions in the skin that they say could also be used on cuts inside the body.

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