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U.S. warns states against defunding Planned Parenthood

Planned aprenthoodThe U.S. government has warned states moving to defund women's health group Planned Parenthood that they may be in conflict with federal law, officials said on Wednesday.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, a federal agency, was in contact with officials in Louisiana and Alabama this month, said a spokesperson for the agency's parent, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).


Conservative Federal Judges Wave The White Flag On Obamacare

Conservative FFederal judges wave white flag on ObamacareLast June, the Supreme Court handed down its decision in King v. Burwell, shutting down the latest attack on the Affordable Care Act to reach the justices in the process. Yet while the law’s supporters — and the thousands of Americans who could die if Obamacare is repealed — celebrated this decision, another threat to the law waited in a powerful appeals court.

On Friday, however, four Republican federal appeals court judges, including at least one of the most conservative judges in the country, laid that threat to rest in an opinion signaling that federal courts will no longer give comfort to lawyers seeking to wipe out Obamacare.


Pfizer and Flynn Pharma accused of overcharging by CMA

Pfizer and Flynn Pharma overchargePharmaceutical firms Pfizer and Flynn Pharma have been accused by the UK's competition watchdog of charging "excessive and unfair" prices for an anti-epilepsy drug.

Phenytoin sodium capsules, used by 50,000 people in Britain, are made by Pfizer and sold by Flynn.  Pfizer said it was co-operating with the Competition and Markets Authority.


The DOJ 'Intended To Discourage' A Historic Medical Marijuana Bill

DOJ discourages medical marijuanaAn internal Department of Justice memo leaked this week reveals that in the days leading up to last year's historic passage of a federal medical marijuana protections measure, the DOJ passed around "informal talking points" to members of Congress that were "intended to discourage passage" of the statute due to concerns about overreach -- concerns that would later turn out to be incorrect.

In May 2014, the House passed an appropriations amendment, introduced by Reps. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.) and Sam Farr (D-Calif.), that blocked the DOJ from using funds to target state-legal medical marijuana operations. These historic protections for medical marijuana patients and providers were eventually signed into law by President Barack Obama as part of a larger federal budget bill.


FDA approves first 3-D printed pill

3-D pill approvedThe U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved the first 3-D printed pill, an epilepsy medication designed to be easier to swallow for adults with swallowing disorders and children.

Although 3-D printing has been used to create devices, implants, prosthetics and tissues for both research and medical procedures, this is the first drug using the technology that has been approved for use.


How New York's mentally ill get lost in courts, jails and hospitals

NY mentally ill mistreatmentIn a 2014 survey of forensic psychiatric services across the country by the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors, or NASMHPD, 31 of 40 responding states reported wait times averaging a month or more for patients with criminal charges to get hospital beds.

Washington state’s Department of Social and Health Services called decompensation of restored defendants in jail “a continuing expensive and time-consuming problem” in a 2006 report to the state legislature.


WHO: Trials show new Ebola vaccine is 'highly effective'

Ebola vaccineA newly developed vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus is "highly effective" and could help prevent its spread in the current and future outbreaks, the World Health Organization said Friday.

Trials of the single-dose VSV-EBOV vaccine began in March in Guinea -- one of three West African nations at the center of the recent outbreak -- and have shown such promise that this week it was decided to extend immediate vaccination to "all people at risk" after close contact with an infected person, a WHO statement said.


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