Healthcare News November 1, 2012

  • Second firm recalls drugs in light of meningitis outbreak

    A second drug compounder recalled its products in the wake of a national meningitis outbreak that has sickened hundreds and killed 29.
    Ameridose is a sister company of the New England Compounding Center, the pharmacy whose steroid injections have been blamed for the deaths.

    In an interview with the Boston Globe, a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) official said no patient infections have been linked to Ameridose products. That official, Janet Woodcock, would not confirm whether the agency has found impurities in Ameridose products, according to the paper. 

  • House panel demands study on Obama school lunch rules

    House Education and Workforce Committee Chairman John Kline (R-Minn.) is asking government investigators to study the controversial school lunch rules implemented this fall by the Obama administration.

    The rules set calorie limits on school lunches and promote nutritious foods as part of the 2010 Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act. The Obama administration backed the requirements as part of its fight against childhood obesity.

    “State and local officials, parents and students have raised concerns about a number of these changes,” Kline wrote Wednesday to the Government Accountability Office (GAO), “specifically the adequacy of the calorie maximum, the cost of the new requirements, and increased food waste in school cafeterias.” 

  • GAO: Doctors’ ‘self-referrals’ cost Medicare more than $100M

    Patients are at risk and Medicare is wasting money because of doctors who refer patients to facilities they own, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) said Wednesday.

    Congressional Democrats said the findings show that some doctors are lining their own pockets at the expense of patients and taxpayers.

    GAO found a steep rise in the number of self-referrals — doctors ordering tests at facilities where they or their family members have a financial stake. Critics argue that self-referral leads to wasteful spending because doctors will order unnecessary tests just to collect a payment from Medicare.

    “The results of this report are eye opening,” Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) said. “Self-referrals offer an incentive for providers to order more tests than they would otherwise. It’s clear they are driving up costs. Providers’ bottom lines shouldn’t be getting in the way of their patients’ care and best interests.”

  • Planned Parenthood launches $853K ad buy against Romney

    Planned Parenthood’s political wing is making what could be its final attempt to alienate female voters from Mitt Romney before the election.

    The Planned Parenthood Action Fund (PPAF) is spending $853,000 to run a 60-second radio ad on Colorado, Ohio and Virginia airwaves until Tuesday.

    The ad accuses Romney of holding views on women that “seem like they’re from the 1950s.” It also paints Obama as the right choice on the economy. 

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