- Holstein with Mad Cow Disease Put Down After Showing Signs of Illness: USDA
- Don't Use Hepatitis C Drug With HIV Drugs: FDA
- Consumers, Employers to Get $1.3 Billion in Health Insurance Rebates
- 200 Now Sickened in Tuna-Linked Salmonella Outbreak
- No Evidence Cellphones Cause Brain Tumors: Experts
Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:
Holstein with Mad Cow Disease Put Down After Showing Signs of Illness: USDA
A dairy cow in California that was found to have mad cow disease was euthanized after it become lame and started lying down, U.S. Department of Agriculture officials said Thursday.
They also said that the Holstein cow from a dairy farm in Tulare County -- the nation's leading dairy-producing county -- was 10 years and seven months old. That contradicts a spokesman for U.S. Rep. Devin Nunes of California who said Wednesday that the cow was 5 years old, the Associated Press reported.
Routine testing at a transfer facility detected mad cow disease (bovine spongiform encephalopathy -- BSE) in the cow. The animal was never destined for the meat market and posed no threat to the food supply, officials said.
The cow had atypical BSE, which is caused by a random mutation. The last two cases of BSE in the U.S. were atypical as well, the AP reported.
Don't Use Hepatitis C Drug With HIV Drugs: FDA
The hepatitis C medicine Victrelis (boceprevir) should not be taken with certain ritonavir-boosted HIV protease inhibitor drugs, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said Thursday.
Taking these medicines at the same time could reduce their effectiveness and allow levels of the hepatitis C virus or HIV in the blood to increase.
Ritonavir-boosted HIV protease inhibitors include ritonavir-boosted Reyataz (atazanavir), ritonavir-boosted Prezista (darunavir), and Kaletra (lopinavir/ritonavir).
"Patients should not stop taking any of their hepatitis C or HIV medicines without talking to their healthcare professional. Patients should contact their healthcare professional with any questions or concerns," the FDA said.
"Healthcare professionals who started patients infected with both chronic HCV and HIV on Victrelis while the patient was taking antiretroviral therapy containing one of these ritonavir-boosted protease inhibitors should closely monitor patients for treatment response (no HCV virus detected in the blood) and for potential HCV or HIV virologic rebound (HCV or HIV virus is detected in the blood again after becoming undetectable)," the FDA advised.
Consumers, Employers to Get $1.3 Billion in Health Insurance Rebates
Under the new U.S. health care law, more than 3 million health insurance policyholders and thousands of employers will receive a total of $1.3 billion in rebates this year, according to a report released Thursday by the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan research group.
The law requires insurance companies to spend at least 80 percent of the premiums they collect on medical care and quality improvement or return the difference to individuals or employers, the Associated Press reported.
Insurance companies must notify policyholders about the rebates and pay them by Aug. 1. Some companies have already started issuing rebates.
More than 3 million individual healthy insurance policyholders will receive a total of $426 million, which works out to an average of $127 per person, the AP reported.
On a state-by-state basis, the largest rebates will go to individuals and employers in Texas ($186 million) and Florida ($149 million). Hawaii is the only state in which insurers are not expected to issue rebates.
Rebates totaling $377 million will be sent out to small employers with plans covering nearly 5 million people. Employers are not required to pass their rebates on to workers, and are also allowed to take them as a discount on next year's premiums, the AP reported.
The Kaiser report's findings are based on an analysis of insurance industry filings with state health insurance commissioners.
The rebates are one of the most tangible benefits that consumers have seen to date from the Obama administration's health care law, according to Larry Levitt, a Kaiser Family Foundation expert on private insurance, the AP reported.