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Tuesday, Aug 04th

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Industry Payments To Doctors Are Ingrained, Federal Data Show

Industry payments to doctorsFew days went by last year when New Hampshire nephrologist Ana Stankovic didn't receive a payment from a drug company.

All told, 29 different pharmaceutical companies paid her $594,363 in 2014, mostly for promotional speaking and consulting, but also for travel expenses and meals, according to data released Tuesday detailing payments by drug and device companies to U.S. doctors and teaching hospitals. (You can search for your doctor on ProPublica's updated Dollars for Docs interactive database.)

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Cuba stamps out mother-to-child HIV

Cuba leminates mother to child HIVCuba has successfully eliminated mother-to-child transmission of both HIV and syphilis, the World Health Organization (WHO) says.

The head of the WHO, Dr Margaret Chan, called it one of the greatest public health achievements possible.

It follows years of efforts to give pregnant women early access to prenatal care, testing and drugs to stop these diseases passing from mother to child.

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California governor signs strict school vaccine legislation

Vaccine law, CaliforniaCalifornia Governor Jerry Brown signed a mandatory school vaccination bill into law Tuesday, abolishing the “personal belief” exemption that many parents use as a loophole to avoid vaccinating their children.

Now, under California law, which is among the strictest in the country, children would not be able to enroll in public school unless they have been vaccinated against diseases like measles and whooping cough. The law includes an exemption for children who have a medical reason to remain unvaccinated (like an immune system disorder) and can prove it with a doctor’s note. Parents who decline to vaccinate their children for personal or religious reasons will have to home-school them or send them to a public independent study program off school grounds.

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Medical marijuana arrives next week in Minnesota – but smoking it is banned

Medical marijuanaThere will be no baggies of pot awaiting patients next week, when Minnesota joins 21 other states in offering medical marijuana. No glass pipes, no plants to tend at home. Instead, the nation’s latest medical marijuana programme is a world of pill bottles and vials of marijuana-infused oil.

For the qualifying patients seeking relief from pain, medical marijuana advocates and some lawmakers, Wednesday isn’t the finish line, but the first step. The state’s restrictive approach, unseen in the industry, is likely to mean high costs, long drives and reluctant doctors.

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Scientists develop cancer drug that starves tumor cells

New cancer drugA new drug was shown in lab tests to successfully shut down the metabolism of cancer cells, causing them to die, while remaining non-toxic to healthy cells around them.

The drug, called SR9243, blocks The Warburg effect, a method that cancer cells use to rapidly find glucose and turn it into energy, which is used to mutate and multiply.

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Supreme Court approves Obamacare subsidies on HealthCare.gov

John RobertsThe U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday upheld the nationwide availability of tax subsidies that are crucial to the implementation of President Barack Obama's signature healthcare law, handing a major victory to the president.

The court ruled on a 6-3 vote that the 2010 Affordable Care Act, widely known as Obamacare, did not restrict the subsidies to states that establish their own online healthcare exchanges. It marked the second time in three years that the high court ruled against a major challenge to the law brought by conservatives seeking to gut it.

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Abortion drones: How technology is breaking through restrictive laws

abortion droneIt’s a mission unlike any other. On June 27, a collective of European abortion advocacy groups say they’re going to send a drone out of Frankfurt and into the small border town of Slubice in Poland — and its cargo is a supply of abortion pills to distribute to local women.

The drop is being organized in part by the Dutch nonprofit Women on Waves, which works to bring abortion services, contraception and counseling to areas with restrictive abortion laws. In the past, the group has made headlines for its other mobile initiatives, notably an “abortion ship” sent to the waters of countries where pregnancy termination is illegal — including Ireland, Portugal and Spain — that would take passengers and then sail out of territorial waters to give counseling and dispense abortion pills to women who request them.

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