- Drug Companies Make Billions More Under Medicare Part D
- Family, Friends May Influence Person's Weight
- Wrong Kind of Bra Can Lead to Breast Damage
- 1,013 Americans Overdosed on Illegal Painkiller
- Bisphenol A No Threat to People: EU Agency
- Cancer Institute Director Warns Staff About Cell Phone Use
Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by editors of HealthDay:
Drug Companies Make Billions More Under Medicare Part D
U.S. drug companies are enjoying a taxpayer-funded windfall worth billions of dollars under Medicare's privatized Part D drug benefit program for seniors and the disabled, says a report released by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.
The document said that under Medicare Part D, prescription drugs cost up to 30 percent more than they do under other government programs. Moreover, drug makers have taken in $3.7 billion more than they would have under Medicaid's program for the poor, the Los Angeles Times reported.
"This is an enormous giveaway. And it has absolutely no justification," said committee chairman Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), who plans to introduce legislation that federal taxpayers wouldn't be charged higher prices under Medicare Part D than under Medicaid.
"The drug companies are making the same drugs. They are being used by the same beneficiaries. Yet because the drugs are being bought through Medicare Part D instead of Medicaid, the prices paid by taxpayers have ballooned by billions of dollars," the newspaper quoted Waxman as saying.
Family, Friends May Influence Person's Weight
People with overweight family and friends may be more likely to pack on the pounds, according to a study by an international team of researchers.
They analyzed data on 27,000 people from across Europe and concluded that choices about appearance made by people around you may influence your own choices. In other words, if people around you are overweight, you may decide it's okay for you to be overweight too, BBC News reported.
"Rising obesity needs to be thought of a sociological phenomenon not a physiological one," said researcher Andrew Oswald of the University of Warwick in the U.K. "People are influenced by relative comparisons, and norms have changed and are still changing."
This finding about "imitative obesity" was presented at an economics conference in the United States.
But one expert said the reasons for rising obesity rates are much more complex, BBC News reported.
"If you are surrounded by people, whether that's friends or within the family home, who are overweight, you are sharing the same environment where there is likely to be an abundance of the wrong kinds of foods," noted Dr. David Haslam, clinical director of the (U.K.) National Obesity Forum.
Wrong Kind of Bra Can Lead to Breast Damage
Wearing the wrong kind of bra could damage a woman's breasts, warn breast biomechanics experts at the University of Portsmouth in the U.K., who tested about 50 bra designs on hundreds of women over the past three years.
Poor bra support, the researchers said, can lead to stretching of fragile ligaments in the breast, BBC News reported.
During exercise, breasts can move up to 8 inches up and down, in and out, and side to side. However, most bras provide only limited vertical support, the researchers noted.
They also said many women make the wrong choices in bras for everyday wear and suffer pain and discomfort, BBC News reported.
"Many women have strong preferences for certain styles of bra and won't buy anything else. They won't even look at anything that doesn't look like the sort of bra they are used to wearing," said study researcher Wendy Hedger.
1,013 Americans Overdosed on Illegal Painkiller
Between early April 2005 and late March 2007, 1,013 Americans died after overdosing on an illegal version of the powerful prescription painkiller fentanyl, according to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report published Thursday.
"This was really an epidemic," report co-author Dr. Steven Marcus, executive director of New Jersey's poison control center, told the Associated Press.