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Although parents exult when their babies start eating solids, moms and dads may be dishing up for their little darlings unexpected and harmful ingredients in commercially prepared foods — heavy metals, including arsenic, cadmium, and lead at levels that may exceed federal limits. A subcommittee of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform received lots of media attention when it publicly reported its findings on problems it says it sees with baby products from the likes of Gerber, Walmart, Campbell Soup, and Sprout organics. Some of the makers, at the panel’s request, provided data on their products and testing for…
The opioid abuse and drug overdose crisis has tarred yet another of the nation’s business titans: McKinsey, a globally renowned consulting firm, has discovered that providing corporate clients sketchy advice about addictive, debilitating, and even lethal prescription medications can have consequences. The firm, which has apologized for its conduct, has agreed to pay $573.9 million in a settlement with 47 states over consulting work it did for multiple Big Pharma companies, notably with Purdue Pharmaceuticals, the maker of the drug OxyContin. Critics of Purdue, citing media investigations and in civil lawsuits filed by states and local governments, have argued…
Roughly a tenth of adult Americans (~37 million people) have gotten coronavirus vaccinations, as the Biden Administration pushes to increase vaccine supplies and shot sites, while also boosting disease testing capacity and availability of personal protective equipment (PPE) for health workers. The battle against Covid-19 may seem still to be a slog, with vaccine demand exceeding supply and frustration high as to why the nation has not made greater progress in quashing the pandemic and returning to normality. As expected, Republicans in Congress have declined to join the new president and his administration in the Democratic plan to fast…
ongressional investigations may be coming none too soon on revelations about predatory billing by big hospitals and hospital chains against patients for costly care they received after they were hurt in vehicle wrecks. The New York Times reported that its investigations showed that patients, especially the poor and vulnerable, too often have gotten ripped off on treatments that their health insurance could have covered when they were involved in car crashes. Instead, hospitals and hospital chains seek to maximize profits — and purportedly to protect themselves against financial losses — by making legal claims against wreck victims and their…
Patients long have dreaded the possibility that — when already seriously ill or hurt — they also would be hit with debilitating or deadly hospital- or health care-associated infections, aka HAIs. The most nightmarish of these cases involve bacteria or fungi difficult to subdue, even with powerful treatments. Now, with care institutions overwhelmed by coronavirus pandemic cases, drug-resistant HAIs are increasing — and in worrisome fashion because they are so difficult on their own for patients, doctors, and hospitals to deal with, the New York Times reported: “’Seeing the world as a one-pathogen world is really problematic,’ said Dr.
Although corporate titans insist that Big Business can show more responsibility and not put profit ahead of all else, consumers are getting tough displays of how loath companies can be to owning up to dealing with harms their enterprises can cause or the rapacious pricing of their goods. The most recent sketchy signals on product liability and costs came from a spectrum of enterprises and their executives, including nursing home owners and operators, a giant furniture maker, and, of course, Big Pharma. Caveat emptor? Maybe. Or does the corporate ducking, bobbing, and weaving that would make…
President Biden has increased the access and affordability of health care for millions of Americans, issuing executive orders to reopen Obamacare exchanges and review rules or practices that targeted the aged, poor, sick, and chronically ill or mentally ill and hindered them from benefiting from Medicaid. These were fast, early actions that Biden campaigned on and said that voters wanted him to take with urgency, as he did. Allowing a “do over” of ACA enrollment will be a boon for millions of the pandemic jobless, many of whom may have lost employer-provided health insurance (which covers more than 150…
As coronavirus vaccine supplies  keep far exceeding demand, and as the new administration races to acquire and distribute more doses, as well as to kick start  plodding vaccination campaigns across the country, it may be a challenge not to ask the people who oversaw battling the pandemic before: What the heck were you thinking? More on that in a second. As of Jan. 29, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that ~49 million vaccine doses had been shipped and ~28 million were administered, with ~23 million patients now having received at least one of two shots required. Continue
Many Americans took a good step for themselves and their loved ones after getting shocked by learning about treatments, like prolonged machine ventilation, that coronavirus patients may undergo. Not for me, the healthy may have decided. They committed to determining end-of-life wishes, committing these to “advance directives” or POLST (portable orders for life-sustaining treatment) forms. That may just the start of what people need to do with these formal documents, now easily found online, reported Paula Span, the New York Times’ “New Old Age” columnist. They need to do more. (Hint: Some of this even may be covered
The Biden Administration faces major challenges as it seeks to tame the coronavirus pandemic’s terrible toll on nursing homes and other long-term care facilities. The roll-out of vaccines for residents and staff plods along, while a big concern may be rising as facility staffing keeps eroding. The New York Times reported that Walgreens and CVS, the chain pharmacies that the Trump Administration chose to partner with with to deliver vaccine shots to long-term care facilities, have vaccinated 1 million and 1.6 million residents and staff, respectively. Both companies say the vaccination rollout has been rockier and tougher than…