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White House Announces Program to Combat Rise in Heroin Deaths

Heroin addictionIn response to a rise nationally in fatal heroin overdoses, the White House on Monday announced a plan aimed at emphasizing treatment rather than prosecution of addicts.

The program would initially be funded for $2.5 million by the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy through five "High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas" and cover 15 states, administration officials said Monday.

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Arkansas governor cuts state contracts with Planned Parenthood

Planned parenthoodArkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson on Friday canceled the state's contracts with Planned Parenthood, making his the third Southern state to do so since anti-abortion activists released a series of videos that they say suggests the organization sells fetal tissue.

"It is apparent that after the recent revelations on the actions of Planned Parenthood, that this organization does not represent the values of the people of our state and Arkansas is better served by terminating any and all existing contracts with them," Hutchinson, a Republican, said in a statement.

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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).

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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 Yet while the law’s supporters — and the thousands of Americans who could die if Obamacare is repealed — celebrated this decision, another threat to the law waited in a powerful appeals court.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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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