UN limits melamine in formula after China scandal
ROME (AP) - A U.N. commission has set a recommended limit on the amount of melamine allowed in liquid infant formula after a 2008 scandal in China in which six babies died from drinking formula and milk products containing the industrial chemical. Two years ago, the U.N. food security body known as the Codex Alimentarius Commission set the maximum limit of melamine in powdered infant formula at 1 milligram per kilogram of formula. On Wednesday, the commission said it had adopted a limit for liquid formula at 0.15 milligrams/kilogram.
Russia fears new epidemic of synthetic marijuana
MOSCOW (AP) - Russia's leading anti-drug crusader says the abuse of synthetic marijuana is turning into a "horrible" epidemic in his country. Experts say a range of hallucinogens known as "spice" are very hard to kick, and addicts lose sleep, weight and get kidney and brain disorders from them.
Puerto Rico sees sharp spike in dengue cases
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) - The number of detected dengue cases is running at above-average levels as Puerto Rico enters the peak season for the painful disease. The territory's Health Secretary Lorenzo Gonzalez says 111 cases were reported the first week of June and 117 cases the previous week. Eight cases of the more-severe hemorrhagic form have been confirmed, though no one has died.
2 paths forward for uninsured, 1 clouded by ruling
WASHINGTON (AP) - Really? The Supreme Court's big health care decision means 30 million or more uninsured Americans are soon going to have coverage? It's far from that simple. The ruling does point a way forward for millions who can't get affordable coverage because they've been sick, they're self-employed or they are otherwise shut out of the insurance plans that most Americans get in the workplace. But the path is clouded for millions more: the people on the bottom rungs of the economic ladder who are supposed to be reached by a major expansion of Medicaid.
FDA approves first rapid, take-home HIV test
WASHINGTON (AP) - Americans will soon be able to test themselves in the privacy of their own homes for the virus that causes AIDS, now that the Food and Drug Administration has approved the first rapid, over-the-counter HIV test. The OraQuick test detects the presence of HIV antibodies using a mouth swab and returns a result in 20 to 40 minutes.
Mystery disease kills 61 kids in Cambodia
PHNOM PENH, Cambodia (AP) - A World Health Organization expert says it's too early to know whether a mixture of known diseases or something new is responsible for the deaths of more than 60 children in Cambodia. The mystery disease has killed 61 of the 62 children hospitalized since April, but there's no indication it is spreading from person to person. Patients suffer a high fever, followed by severe respiratory problems that progress quickly. Some also experience neurological symptoms.
SPIN METER: When 'tax' is a 4-letter word
WASHINGTON (AP) - At least in politics, "tax" is a four-letter word. So when the Supreme Court ruled that the penalty for not obtaining health insurance is constitutional because it works like a tax, politicians began squirming over what to call that Thing in President Barack Obama's health care law.
Methadone deaths still high but may have peaked
ATLANTA (AP) - Overdose deaths from powerful painkillers have been surging at an alarming rate in the U.S., but here's a sliver of good news: The number blamed on methadone appears to have peaked. Still, methadone accounts for nearly one-third of prescription painkiller deaths, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Tuesday.
Mass. health law may bode well for federal law
BOSTON (AP) - Massachusetts has the nation's highest rate of residents with health insurance. Visits to emergency rooms are beginning to ease. More residents are getting cancer screenings and more women are making prenatal doctors' visits. Still, one of the biggest challenges for the state lies ahead: reining in spiraling costs.
GlaxoSmithKline to pay $3B for health fraud
TRENTON, N.J. (AP) - British drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline will pay $3 billion in fines - the largest health care fraud settlement in U.S. history - for criminal and civil violations involving 10 drugs that are taken by millions of people. The Justice Department said Monday that GlaxoSmithKline PLC will plead guilty to promoting popular antidepressants Paxil and Wellbutrin for unapproved uses. The company also will plead guilty to failing to report to the government for seven years some safety problems with diabetes drug Avandia, which was restricted in the U.S. and banned in Europe after it was found in 2007 to sharply increase the risks of heart attacks and congestive heart failure.