Here are some of the latest health and medical news
developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:
Spending on Drugs for Diabetes, Cholesterol Exceeds $52
Drugs to treat metabolic conditions such as diabetes and high
cholesterol were the class of prescription drugs that accounted for
the highest level of spending by U.S. insurers and consumers in
2008, according to a federal government report.
Purchases of metabolic drugs by adults age 18 and older
accounted for $52.2 billion (22 percent) of the nearly $233 billion
spent overall to buy outpatient prescription medicines in 2008,
according to the latest
News and Numbers from the Agency for Healthcare Research and
Ranked by total spending, the other top four classes of drugs
- Central and nervous system drugs used to relieve chronic pain
and control epileptic seizures and Parkinson's disease tremors --
- Cardiovascular drugs, including calcium channel blockers and
diuretics -- $29 billion.
- Antacids, antidiarrheals, and other medicines for
gastrointestinal conditions -- $20 billion.
- Antidepressants, antipsychotics and other psychotherapeutic
drugs -- $20 billion.
U.S. Whooping Cough Cases Topped 21,000 in 2010
More than 21,000 people in the United States got whooping cough
last year, the highest number since 2005 and one of the highest
numbers in more than 50 years, federal health officials said.
The recent spike in cases, many of which involve children and
teens, puzzles experts because the vaccine against whooping cough
is highly effective in children and vaccination rates for children
are considered good, the
Associated Press reported.
The latest figures were released at a vaccine advisory committee
meeting in Atlanta.
Whooping cough, which is very contagious, starts like a cold but
leads to severe coughing that can last for weeks. The disease can
be fatal in rare cases, especially for infants too young to receive
the vaccine, the
Law Officials Target Florida Pill Mills
Doctors and pain clinic operators were expected to be among
those arrested as federal agents and local police moved to close
down illegal pill mills in South Florida, the
Associated Press reported.
The arrests are part of a lengthy undercover operation targeting
dozens of pain clinics in Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach
counties that ship large amounts of powerful prescription drugs
across the country, the news service said.
South Florida is the nation's hotbed for illegal sales of
prescription drugs. For example, 85 percent of all oxycodone pills
sold in the United States come from Florida, state officials
recently revealed, the
AP reported. Oxycodone is a highly addictive painkiller.
Third Judge Rules in Favor of New Health Care Law
The constitutionality of the Obama health care law has been
upheld by a third federal judge.
Two other federal district judges, both appointed by Republican
presidents, have ruled against the law's provision that requires
most Americans to obtain health insurance starting in 2014.
On Tuesday, Judge Gladys Kessler of Federal District Court for
the District of Columbia rejected a constitutional challenge that
was filed by five people represented by the American Center for Law
and Justice, a conservative Christian legal group,
The New York Times reported.
She and the other two judges who upheld the constitutionality of
the health care law were appointed by President Bill Clinton.
More than 20 legal challenges to the health care law have been
filed around the country. Most experts believe the legality of the
law will be determined by the Supreme Court, but each lower court
ruling adds to the balance of legal opinion that will be considered
by the justices, the