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For many Medicaid patients, hepatitis C wonder drugs are out of reach

Hep C drug price spikesIt took years for Dara Dundon to realize that something was off with her health.

She felt lethargic, almost like she was getting the flu. But it wasn’t until she had hip replacement surgery in 2005 that a doctor discovered the cause: hepatitis C.

Untreated, hepatitis C can lead to liver disease, which is often deadly. So Dundon asked her doctor about a new drug, Harvoni, with cure rates above 90 percent in three months or less of treatment.


In US tobacco fields, laboring teens face grave dangers

Tobacco fields dangerous for teen workersMany teenagers who work long hours on tobacco farms in the United States are getting sick, reporting symptoms like vomiting, dizziness and a loss of appetite, according to a Human Rights Watch report released on Wednesday.

The New York–based group called on the U.S. government and tobacco companies to bar children under 18 from working in direct contact with tobacco.


Bitter pill: How Florida rations care for frail kids

How Florida rations care for disabled childrenSix-year-old Aref Shabaneh is almost entirely blind, able to read only in Braille, walks with a cane, and is so sensitive to light his parents turn them off when he’s home. For two years, he was enrolled in a taxpayer-funded healthcare program that provided specialists to help protect what little is left of his eyesight.

In June, Florida health administrators declared in a memo that the little boy was “NOT clinically eligible.”

His severely detached retina had not been miraculously cured by doctors. Instead, state records show, Aref had been tossed from the program by state health employees looking to cut costs. They made the move after his mother failed to see the trap door hidden in a questionnaire from the Florida Department of Health — a “screening tool” that one judge declared invalid in September, but the Department of Health is fighting to reinstate.


Top U.S. lab regulator replaced in wake of incidents with bioterror pathogens

CDCThe Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has replaced its longtime director of national lab regulation in the wake of several high-profile incidents involving bioterror pathogens and an internal review that identified areas of improvement for the oversight program, USA TODAY has learned.

The CDC, in a statement Tuesday, declined to say why it replaced Robbin Weyant on Nov. 9 as director of the agency’s Division of Select Agents and Toxins, which regulates hundreds of U.S. labs working with the organisms that cause anthrax, plague, Ebola and other deadly diseases that are deemed to pose bioterror risks.


Boston College basketball players among dozens sick after eating Chipotle

ChipolteAbout 30 Boston College students, including at least eight basketball players, got sick after eating at a Chipotle restaurant, prompting an investigation to determine if E. coli is the culprit.

The restaurant in the Brighton neighborhood so far has not been linked to the nationwide E. coli outbreak in nine states that has sickened at least 52 people since October. The Massachusetts Department of Health is working to determine the cause of the illnesses.


Scientists assembled for Monsanto say herbicide not carcinogenic, disputing WHO report

Monsanto panel clears their poisonA panel of scientists is disputing a World Health Organization report published earlier this year that concluded glyphosate, the world's most widely used weed killer and main ingredient in Monsanto Co's Roundup herbicide, is probably carcinogenic to humans.

The 16-member panel, assembled by Intertek Scientific & Regulatory Consultancy, will present its findings to the annual meeting of the Society for Risk Analysis on Monday, aiming to publish the study at a later date after peer review. Monsanto paid Intertek for the panel's work.


U.S. Driving Rape Victims Worldwide to Grisly Abortions

Abortion opporessionWhen the Islamic militant group Boko Haram kidnapped nearly 300 Nigerian high school girls in a single day, the story horrified the world. Just after midnight, armed fighters pulled the girls out of their beds in the dorm at the Chibok Government Secondary School. Then they loaded them into trucks, torched the building and sped off into the trees.

No one knew what had happened to the students until three weeks later, when Boko Haram’s leader released a video announcing that he planned to “sell them in the market, by Allah.” Over the following year, as activists, politicians, and celebrities from Malala Yousafzai to Michelle Obama to Kim Kardashian called attention to the girls’ plight, Boko Haram enslaved and raped hundreds more women and girls. Often, the specific goal was to impregnate them to create a new generation of fighters. Some of the girls were as young as nine years old.


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