Study Finds Radiation Risk for Patients
At least four million Americans under age 65 are exposed to high doses of radiation each year from medical imaging tests, according to a new study. About 400,000 of those patients receive very high doses, more than the maximum annual exposure allowed for nuclear power plant employees or anyone else who works with radioactive material. Though the study did not estimate the number of cancer cases that the radiation might cause over the next several decades, researchers estimate that it would probably result in tens of thousands of additional cancers.
Rare Side Effect Seen From Breast Cancer Drug
A new report suggests that a drug widely used to prevent the recurrence of breast cancer may have a rare but dangerous side effect, increasing the odds that long-term users may develop an uncommon but aggressive new tumor. But medical experts were quick to question the significance and methodology of the new study, saying clinical trials had repeatedly found that the drug, tamoxifen, reduced the recurrence and spread of common breast cancers and that its benefits exceeded any possible risks.
Study Finds Risk in Off-Label Prescribing
Physicians are allowed to use drugs in ways that are not specifically approved by the Food and Drug Administration, a practice called off-label prescribing. There is usually less scientific evidence to support nonapproved uses, and a new survey of physicians has found that many might not even know when they are prescribing off label. The average physician in the survey identified the FDA approval status correctly for only about half the drugs on a list provided by the researchers. Confusion was greatest with psychiatric drugs, the survey of some 600 doctors found.
Many Diabetic Foot Amputations Are Preventable
Limb-salvage experts say that many of the 80,000-plus amputations of toes, feet and lower legs that diabetics undergo each year are preventable if only patients got the right care for their feet. Yet they're frustrated that so few do until they're already on what's called the stairway to amputation, suffering escalating foot problems because of a combination of ignorance - among patients and doctors - and payment hassles.
Class Certification Denied in Fraud Suit Over Marketing of Relacore
A suit alleging that the maker of the dietary supplement Relacore fraudulently marketed it for use in cutting belly fat and stress is not right for class action treatment, a New Jersey appeals court has ruled. The judges said there are too many possible variables to satisfy the requirement that questions of law or fact common to the class predominate over questions affecting only individual members. The marketing campaign for Relacore varied over time, claiming at times that the drug reduced belly fat and that it reduced stress at others; as a result, Relacore users might have bought the product for difference reasons and been disappointed in different ways for its alleged failure to measure up to the advertised promises.
'All Natural' Snapple Consumer Fraud Class Action Reinstated
A three-judge panel of the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals revived a New Jersey statewide class action against Snapple, finding that federal regulation does not pre-empt consumer fraud claims involving Snapple's "All Natural" labeling. The case began when a New Jersey woman bought two bottles of Snapple and was surprised and distressed to discover that her Snapple contained high-fructose corn syrup. She filed a class action in New Jersey state court, alleging consumer fraud and breach of warranty.
Judge OKs $500 Million Settlement by Social Security Administration
The Social Security Administration has agreed to pay an estimated $500 million to people whose benefits it suspended or denied between January 2007 and April of this year, under a settlement given preliminary approval. The government also agreed to change the policy under which it denies or suspends payments for people with outstanding arrest warrants. People whose benefits were denied or suspended between 2000 and 2006 also will have a chance to reinstate their benefits. The proposed nationwide class involves about 200,000 people, including 80,000 whose benefits had been suspended or denied since January 2007.
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