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30 Oct

America's Health Report Card

Life expectancy is down, teen e-cigarette use is up and health spending hits about $3 trillion.

Health News Results - 25

One in eight U.S. pharmacies closed in recent years, with independent pharmacies in cities taking the hardest hit, a new study shows.

Specifically, 9,654 pharmacies closed from 2009 to 2015. Independent pharmacies in both cities and rural areas were three times more likely to close than chain pharmacies.

About one in four pharmacies in urban, low-income neighborhoods closed,...

Purdue Pharma, the drug giant many have blamed for the ongoing U.S. opioid abuse crisis, has offered $10 billion to $12 billion to settle more than 2,000 lawsuits lodged against it, NBC News is reporting.

The news comes a day after the first of many pending state-driven opioid lawsuits -- this one lodged by Oklahoma -- ended in a judge ruling that the Johnson & Johnson comp...

Many health care workers are still on the job even if they have symptoms of a cold, flu or other respiratory infection, putting patients and coworkers at risk, a new study finds.

It included more than 2,700 health care workers at nine Canadian hospitals who completed online diaries whenever they had symptoms of a respiratory infection.

Half reported an acute respiratory vira...

They say good help is hard to find, and America's immigration policies could be making it even tougher in the health care field.

Immigration crackdown efforts, the border wall included, are very likely to cost the elderly and disabled the care that they desperately need, a new study argues.

More than 3 million immigrants work in the U.S. health care system, accounting for ab...

Need to see your doctor, but can't take time off from work? There's an app for that. And new research shows patients find the ability to see a doctor "virtually" convenient and satisfying.

Nine out of 10 people who had a virtual visit with a doctor said it was more convenient than other ways of getting care, and it addressed their medical needs. Only four in 10 said they would prefer...

Drug makers and federal regulators dropped the ball in tracking the use of a potentially deadly fast-acting form of the synthetic opioid fentanyl, putting thousands of patients at risk of a fatal overdose, a new study claims.

Transmucosal Immediate-Release Fentanyl (TIRF) drugs are approved for use in cancer patients who've developed tolerance against the around-the-clock opioids norm...

Aggressive direct marketing to doctors by pharmaceutical companies is tied to spurring the ongoing epidemic of opioid abuse in the United States, a new study claims.

A county-by-county analysis showed that opioid use increased in places where drug makers focused their marketing efforts, explained lead researcher Dr. Scott Hadland. He's a pediatrician and addiction researcher at Boston...

Turn on prime-time TV and you'll likely see a pitch for arthritis or impotence pills, and maybe a cancer center. Advertisers spent nearly $10 billion marketing prescription drugs and medical services to the American public in 2016 -- five times what they doled out 20 years earlier, a new study finds.

Experts said the results raise questions about the influence of advertising over how ...

Older adults who live in for-profit nursing homes are nearly twice as likely to have health problems linked to poor care than those in nonprofit nursing homes and those who live in private homes, a new study finds.

"We saw more -- and more serious -- diagnoses among residents of for-profit facilities that were consistent with severe clinical signs of neglect, including severe dehydrat...

In an attempt to head off federal regulation, America's pharmaceutical manufacturers announced Monday that they would take voluntary action to make drug prices more transparent.

Under the industry's plan, all TV drug advertisements would include information directing consumers to online resources that provide the drug's list price, estimated out-of-pocket costs for consumers, and any ...

U.S. patients face numerous roadblocks when trying to access their medical records at the nation's top hospitals, a new study finds.

Federal law says patients must be given access to their medical records in a timely manner, in their preferred format and at a reasonable cost. But Yale University researchers found many hospitals make the process too confusing or expensive.

"T...

Hackers are targeting medical record data more than ever, and their most rewarding prey appears to be health insurance companies, a new study suggests.

Data breaches involving health plans accounted for 63 percent of all breached records that occurred between 2010 and 2017, said lead researcher Dr. Thomas McCoy Jr. He is director of research at Massachusetts General Hospital's Center ...

One of the key members of your health-care team might not be a doctor or a nurse, but a physician assistant.

A physician assistant -- or PA -- is a specialist with training to fill gaps in primary care, not only in rural communities, but also in busy practices in other areas. If you call your doctor's office with an urgent need, a PA might be the professional who can see you right awa...

Pharmaceutical companies appear to be engaging in price gouging during drug shortages, with costs rising at double the normal rate when medications are in limited supply, a new study claims.

Prices can be expected to rise about 20 percent for drugs facing a shortage, but only about 9 percent for medicines in good supply, researchers report.

"It's clear the manufacturer...

U.S. voters' despair over poor health and premature deaths might have tipped the 2016 presidential election in Donald Trump's favor, a new analysis argues.

Counties that voted Republican more heavily had a 15 percent higher age-adjusted death rate than counties that voted heavily Democratic, researchers found.

In particular, counties that shifted toward Trump had much larger...

Emergency treatment rarely allows you much time to consider your options. But what about care that can be done on your timetable?

There are many tools available to help you understand the pros and cons of nearly any procedure and -- through an open discussion with your health-care provider -- determine what's best for you.

Research shows that using decision-making tools help...

Sticking with one primary care doctor may help you stay healthy and extend your life, according to a new British study.

Researchers reviewed 22 studies from nine countries with different cultures and health systems. Of those, 18 concluded that staying with the same doctor over time significantly reduced early deaths, compared with switching doctors.

"Currently, arranging for a p...

What a difference a border makes, when it comes to the cost of cancer care.

Common chemotherapy for advanced colorectal cancer costs twice as much in Washington state as it does a short walk across the Canadian border into British Columbia, researchers report.

A month's worth of chemotherapy cost $12,345 on the U.S. side of the border versus $6,195 just over the line into Ca...

Doctors who accept perks from companies that make opioid painkillers are more likely to prescribe the drugs for their patients, new research suggests.

The money in question paid doctors for meals, consulting and speaking fees, and travel expenses.

Typically, doctors receive less than $1,000 per year, said lead investigator Dr. Scott Hadland. Less than 2 percent of physician...

Generic drugs tend to trigger big drops in the cost of their expensive, brand-name counterparts, but that has not been the case with the cancer drug commonly known as Gleevec (imatinib).

There's been only a small drop in the price of imatinib since a generic version was introduced to compete with Gleevec, a new study finds.

Gleevec is used to treat chronic myeloid leukemia. ...

Advances in medical technology sometimes come with drawbacks, and in the case of electronic health records, a new study suggests these systems occasionally put patients at risk.

"There's no question that electronic health records have clear benefits for clinicians and patients, and can improve the care process," said senior author Raj Ratwani. He is director of the MedStar Health Nati...

It's well-known that the United States spends a lot more for its health care than other industrialized nations do.

But a new study claims that some of the purported explanations for why America's health care bill is so huge simply do not wash.

The United States does not use more health care than high-income peers like Canada, Germany, France and Japan, said study co-author L...

Few older Americans believe ordering more tests and drugs is the way to better health care, a new survey finds.

Of the more than 2,000 respondents aged 50 to 80, just 14 percent thought that "more is better," according to the National Poll on Healthy Aging.

In fact, 54 percent said they believe that health care providers often recommend tests, medications or procedures that ...

The U.S. National Institutes of Health spent more than $100 billion on research that led to 210 new medicines gaining U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval over six years, a new study shows.

Nearly $64 billion of that spending was for the development of 84 first-in-class drugs that use new biological mechanisms or targets.

The study is the first to assess how government...

A long-feared shortage of a substance used in millions of medical imaging procedures each year in the United States appears to have been avoided, federal officials report.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced today that it has approved a new technology to produce the country's own supply of the substance -- a radioisotope called Technetium-99m (Tc-99m). The newly approved t...

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