Regulators in California and New York have approved Cigna's proposed $67 billion acquisition of pharmacy benefit manager Express Scripts, putting the companies one step closer to finalizing the deal by the end of this year. "We continue to work with regulators in New Jersey, the one outstanding state where approval is required, and continue to expect that the transaction will close by the end of 2018, subject to the satisfaction of all closing conditions," the companies said in a regulatory filing.
Legislation that would allow HHS to stop unjustifiable drug price hikes has been introduced by Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., and three other Senate Democrats. The CURE High Drug Prices Act will permit HHS to force pharmaceutical firms to pay back unjustifiable increases in drug prices to payers and other consumers if the agency deems a price hike is excessive or to bring back the drug's old price for a certain period under qualified or federal health plans.
A Florida nonprofit that helps young adults transition out of foster care has received a $20,000 donation from the Walt Disney World Resort, harvested from coins tossed into its water features by visitors. Community Based Care of Central Florida is the latest charity to share in more than $325,000 worth of coins collected over 20 years at the resort.
Researchers at the Kansas State Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory have confirmed 184 cases of chronic wasting disease in the state since 2009, and white-tailed deer populations in areas where CWD is endemic are likely to "decline to unrecoverable levels in the long term if the disease is not adequately managed," says epidemiologist Ram Raghavan, an assistant professor at Kansas State University's College of Veterinary Medicine. The lab offers free CWD test kits to veterinarians, hunters and cervid producers, and will test cervids for a fee.
Effective Feb. 1, Delta Air Lines will no longer allow passengers to carry emotional support animals on flights longer than eight hours or any support or service animal younger than four months old. Delta cited a significant uptick in incidents involving passengers' animals, including allergies, biting and soiled cabins.
The positive results of adopting small, healthier habits may be imperceptible at first, but compound quickly when replacing bad behaviors. "But when we repeat 1 percent errors, day after day, by replicating poor decisions, duplicating tiny mistakes, and rationalizing little excuses, our small choices compound into toxic results," writes author James Clear.
A study in the journal Circulation showed that patients with type 1 and type 2 diabetes had an increased incidence of heart failure hospitalization, compared with those without diabetes, with the smallest relative differences observed among older men. Researchers used a cohort of 3.25 million Scottish residents and found that individuals with and without type 2 diabetes had similar declines in rates of hospitalization for heart failure at 0.2% per calendar year, but the rates dropped faster among type 1 diabetes patients at 2.2% per calendar year.
A newly developed hip fracture risk tool had a 76% sensitivity, a 71.9% specificity, a 10.1% positive predictive value and a 98.6% negative predictive value in determining a mean 10-year fracture risk of 3.3% among patients with type 2 diabetes, according to a study in Diabetes Care. Researchers analyzed data from the Fremantle Diabetes Study involving 1,251 patients, mean age of 65, and found that although QFracture performed well in predicting hip fracture risk, that tool requires 25 variables, while the new tool produced similar results by using only 5 variables.
Nearly 50% of US adults believed that weight-loss surgery was mostly for cosmetic reasons rather than for health reasons, while about 40% felt that those who undergo the procedure are choosing the "easy way out," researchers reported in JAMA Surgery. The findings, based on a telephone survey of 948 adults, showed that women had more favorable attitudes toward metabolic surgery and were more likely to say that weight-loss surgery is mainly for health reasons than men.
UK researchers found that individuals in a weight-gain prevention program, which encouraged them to monitor their weight and be mindful of the excess energy in holiday food or drink, had an average weight loss of 0.13 kg over 45 days, compared with a 0.37 kg weight gain among those in the control group. Findings in The BMJ, based on 272 adults, revealed that the intervention group also had a higher score in practicing "cognitive restraint," but no significant differences were seen between the two groups in emotional eating, uncontrolled eating or body fat percentage.
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