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FDA raises concerns about herbal supplement kratom

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a Public Health Advisory due to its growing concerns about the risks associated with the use of the herbal supplement kratom, and is calling on those who believe in the potential medical benefits of the herb to conduct research on kratom so that its risks and benefits can be better understood. Kratom is a plant indigenous to Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea. It has grown in popularity in the U.S., and is often marketed as a “safe” treatment for a variety of conditions. The FDA said it knows people are using kratom ... Read More

Don’t delay melanoma treatment, prompt surgery saves lives, research shows

According to U.S. News and World Report, researchers with the Cleveland Clinic have found that delaying treatment of melanoma even one month reduces a patient’s chance of survival. Melanoma is the most deadly form of skin cancer, on average, killing one American an hour. “The ideal timing for melanoma treatment, predominantly surgery, had yet to be determined — until now,” said primary investigator Dr. Brian Gastman. He is director of melanoma surgery at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio. Gastman and colleagues used the National Cancer Database to identify and study the data of 153,218 adult patients who were diagnosed with ... Read More

Jury Finds New Orleans Woman Guilty of Medicare Fraud

A federal jury found a New Orleans woman guilty of cheating Medicare out of millions of dollars through a scheme of paying and receiving illegal kickbacks and billing the health care program for power wheelchairs and other medical equipment. After a three-day trial, Sandra Parkman, 61, was convicted of one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud, one count of conspiracy to pay and receive kickbacks, two counts of health care fraud, and five counts of accepting kickbacks, the U.S. Department of Justice announced. Federal prosecutors alleged that Ms. Parkman and her boss Tracy Richardson Brown, who is also ... Read More

FDA to evaluate abuse potential of opioid oxymorphone

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is awaiting results from a commissioned study to evaluate whether the powerful opioid oxymorphone, which is the active drug ingredient in Endo Pharmaceuticals’ painkiller Opana ER, is more likely to be abused than other opioids. “If the scientific results of this study demonstrate that this ingredient has qualities that make it more likely to be abused, the FDA will consider taking regulatory action that could limit patient exposure to oxymorphone,” said FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb. Gottlieb made the statement during a speech to the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., during which he also ... Read More

Exploding Lithium Battery Triggers Evacuation of Orlando Airport

An exploding lithium battery inside a camera bag sent people at Orlando International Airport into a panic Friday and prompted the evacuation of the main terminal building. The noises the lithium battery made as it overheated and exploded were mistaken by many in the airport for a bomb or other terrorist incident, according to various reports. News of a shootout at the airport circulated on social media immediately following the blast. No injuries were reported. According to WKMG ClickOrlando, the lithium battery explosion occurred around 5 p.m. at the security checkpoint at the entrance to gates 1-59. “As a result ... Read More

Alabama Jury Awards Army Vet $7.5 Million For Walmart Injury

Walmart representatives say the retail giant intends to appeal a $7.5 million jury award to an Alabama man whose foot became stuck in a wooden pallet at a Phenix City Walmart store, causing him to shatter his foot and hip. Henry Walker, a 59-year-old Army veteran, sued Walmart after the accident, claiming it robbed him of his ability to participate in and enjoy everyday activities. On June 25, 2015, Mr. Walker was getting a watermelon from a bin at Walmart when his foot became trapped in the pallet below. Not realizing his foot was in between the slats of the ... Read More

OTC drug combo treats pain as well as opioids

People who went to the emergency room with acute pain in their shoulders, arms, hips or legs who received two different non-addictive, over-the-counter drugs found relief just as well as – if not better – than three widely prescribed opioids, according to a new study published the Journal of the American Medical Association. The study involved 416 patients who came to the emergency department at Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx. About a fifth of the patients were diagnosed with a bone fracture. Others suffered injuries like sprained ankles, a dislocated shoulder, or a hurt knee. As each patient presented ... Read More

Whistleblower Suit Exposes Missouri Neurosurgeon’s Kickback Scheme

A lawsuit filed under the whistleblower provisions of the False Claims Act against a Missouri neurosurgeon and his fiancée has resulted in a recovery for the Medicare program. The lawsuit, brought by a group of physicians and other health care providers in 2014, accused Dr. Sonjay Fonn of Cape Girardeau and his fiancée Deborah Seeger of operating a mutually beneficial kickback scheme that resulted in the submission of false claims to Medicare. According to the whistleblower suit, the kickback scheme was hatched in 2008 when Ms. Seeger started a spinal implant distributorship, DS Medical, that supplied most of the spinal ... Read More

Fewer IVC filters implanted since FDA warning

The rate of inferior vena cava (IVC) filter placement has declined nationally since reaching a peak in 2010, a trend experts say was triggered by a 2010 Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warning regarding serious risks associated with long-term use of the blood clot-catching devices. An IVC filter is a tiny, cage-like device that is implanted into the inferior vena cava – the large vein that carries deoxygenated blood from the lower body to the heart – to prevent blood clots from reaching the lungs, a condition called pulmonary embolism. The FDA warning stated that long-term risks associated with IVC ... Read More

Self-driving Shuttle Grazed by Tractor-Trailer in Las Vegas

A self-driving shuttle was involved in a minor traffic collision with a tractor-trailer less than an hour after its launch on Fremont Street in downtown Las Vegas. None of the passengers aboard the 12-seater driverless Navya Arma shuttle were injured in the incident, which was caused by a tractor-trailer that backed into and lightly grazed the shuttle. Note: Fox News and others incorrectly report the shuttle manufacturer as Navaya. Critics of self-driving cars noted that the self-driving shuttle failed to avoid the collision, citing one passenger who told KSNV News3LV Las Vegas that the shuttle “just stayed there” as the tractor-trailer ... Read More