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Friday, Apr 25th

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Federal Government Signs Off On Study Using Marijuana To Treat Veterans' PTSD

marijana for pstdThe federal government has signed off on a long-delayed study looking at marijuana as a treatment for veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder, a development that drug researchers are hailing as a major shift in U.S. policy.

The Department of Health and Human Services' decision surprised marijuana advocates who have struggled for decades to secure federal approval for research into the drug's medical uses.

The proposal from the University of Arizona was long ago cleared by the Food and Drug Administration, but researchers had been unable to purchase marijuana from the National Institute on Drug Abuse. The agency's Mississippi research farm is the only federally-sanctioned source of the drug.

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Global tobacco marketing campaign accused of targeting minors

Tobacco marketing minorsA stylish young woman clad in tight maroon pants and a short leather jacket has her fellow up against a brick wall as they share a passionate kiss. The caption underneath the photo reads, “Maybe never fell in love.”

A musician laughs while she picks a guitar, holding a lit cigarette in the other hand. The caption reads, “Maybe never wrote a song.”

A third young person is airborne above the outstretched hands of fellow concertgoers, accompanied by the caption “No more maybe.”

Each advertisement ends with the command to “Be Marlboro,” and is part of an international marketing campaign that public health advocates say is targeted toward children and teenagers in 50 countries with the goal of hooking them on a lifelong and deadly habit.

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FTC Opens Investigation into Herbalife; Shares Plunge

HerbalifeThe Federal Trade Commission has opened a probe into Herbalife. The stock, which had been halted, is now trading down 14%. Before the news came out, it was up 4.45%.

Herbalife confirmed that they received a Civil Investigative Demand from the FTC.  

"Herbalife welcomes the inquiry given the tremendous amount of misinformation in the marketplace, and will cooperate fully with the FTC.  We are confident that Herbalife is in compliance with all applicable laws and regulations.  Herbalife is a financially strong and successful company, having created meaningful value for shareholders, significant opportunities for distributors and positively impacted the lives and health of its consumers for over 34 years," the company said in a statement.

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Drug Company Won't Give Sick Boy Potentially Life-Saving Meds

Drug company refuses drug for dying boyJosh Hardy has fought hard to stay alive. Just 7 years old, he has already survived four bouts of kidney cancer, heart failure and a bone marrow transplant. Now a new obstacle stands in the way of his health: a pharmaceutical company denying him a potentially life-saving medication.

As a viral infection devastates Hardy’s body, doctors at St. Jude's Children Hospital recommended the family try the antiviral drug brincidofovir, which has not yet been approved by the Food and Drug Administration. But the medicine's manufacturer, pharmaceutical company Chimerix, won't administer the drug and says giving it to him would slow down efforts to get brincidofovir approved and bring it to market.

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Obamacare enrollment in private coverage rises to 4.2 million people

ObamacareAbout 4.2 million Americans chose a new health insurance plan through the new health care reform law between Oct. 1 and March 1, according to a new government report Tuesday, but the pace of enrollments has slowed ahead of a critical March 31 deadline.

Since an open enrollment period started last fall, some 2.6 million Americans have chosen health plans through the federal exchange HealthCare.gov, while another 1.6 million have signed up through exchanges run by states. More than 80 percent of those who have selected plans are eligible for federal subsidies through the Affordable Care Act to reduce the cost of premiums.

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U.S. calls emergency preparedness an "urgent public health issue"

HHS emergency plansEmergency preparedness is described as an “urgent public health issue” in a proposal issued by the Department of Health and Human Services which aims to regulate disaster plans.

The proposed rule would impose readiness requirements on 17 different types of facilities -- from hospitals to hospices, nursing homes to kidney dialysis centers -- intended to prevent interruptions to healthcare during an emergency scenario like those that occurred during Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Sandy.

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U.S. administration pulls back on Medicare drug benefit proposals

US Medicare drugs proposalThe Obama administration on Monday pulled back from possible changes to the popular Medicare Part D prescription drug program, saying it would not finalize proposals that have spawned fierce opposition from a broad coalition of interests.

Marilyn Tavenner, administrator of the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), said in a letter to members of Congress that her agency had decided not to move forward at present. She said it would instead seek further input from stakeholders with the prospect of revisiting changes "in future years."

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