Health Highlights: July 11, 2019
Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:
Medicare Drug Rebate Plan Withdrawn by Trump Administration
A plan to let Medicare patients receive rebates that drug companies currently pay to insurers and middleman has been withdrawn by the Trump administration.
The rebates would have been paid directly to seniors in Medicare's Part D program when they filled their prescriptions.
The goal of the much-touted plan was to reduce the financial burden of expensive medications for seniors, but there was resistance from within the White House and from insurers, employers and pharmacy benefit managers, the Associated Press reported.
Critics of the plan got a boost when the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimated it would have little effect on drug prices and would cost Medicare $177 billion over 10 years due to higher taxpayer-subsidized premiums.
The drug industry supported the plan over other proposals being considered by lawmakers, the AP reported.
The rebate plan was withdrawn "based on careful analysis and thorough consideration," according to White House spokesman Judd Deere, who said the administration is looking at bipartisan legislation in Congress to lower drug prices.
There are bills that would cap drug copays for people with Medicare. Currently, some patients taking costly medications for cancer, rheumatoid arthritis and other conditions have copays on par with a mortgage payment, the AP reported.
Another proposal is for "inflation rebates" that drug companies would be pay directly to Medicare if they boost prices beyond a yet-to-be-set point.
Fertility Clinic Sued After Embryo Implanted in Wrong Woman
A California couple says a fertility clinic mistakenly implanted their embryo in another woman, who gave birth to their son and another son belonging to another couple.
Anni and Ashot Manukyan are suing the CHA Fertility Center in Los Angeles for the mix-up involving three separate couples, the Associated Press reported.
The New York woman who gave birth to the two boys believed she had twins using genetic material from her and her husband, according to the lawsuit.
Genetic tests showed that the two boys were not related to the couple and were not related to each other, the Associated Press reported.
Last week, the New York woman and her husband filed a separate lawsuit.
Disney Star Cameron Boyce Died From an Epileptic Seizure
Actor Cameron Boyce died from an epileptic seizure that occurred while he slept, his family said.
The 20-year-old Disney Channel star died on Saturday.
"Cameron's tragic passing was due to a seizure as a result of an ongoing medical condition, and that condition was epilepsy," a family spokesperson told ABC News in a statement Tuesday night.
An autopsy was conducted by the Los Angeles County coroner's office. It said it was waiting for additional test results before determining the official cause of death, The New York Times reported.
The most likely cause of Boyce's death was sudden unexpected death in epilepsy, according to Dr. Orrin Devinsky, director of NYU Langone's Comprehensive Epilepsy Center in Manhattan. He was not involved in Boyce's care.
Each year in the United States, about one in 1,000 people with epilepsy -- or a total of 2,600 people -- die from sudden unexpected death in epilepsy. About 70% of those cases occur during sleep, and the probable cause of death is that the person stops breathing, Devinsky told The Times.
Prior Undetected Heart Attack Common in Sudden Cardiac Death Cases: Study
Nearly half of people who die of sudden cardiac arrest previously suffered a heart attack without being aware of it, a new study says.
Researchers analyzed data on 5,869 people in Finland who died of sudden cardiac arrest. Of those, 4,392 were caused by coronary artery disease, but 3,122 of the patients had not been diagnosed with coronary artery disease, CNN reported.
Of the patients in the second group, autopsies revealed that 42.4% had scarring of the heart consistent with a silent heart attack, which occurs without a person knowing.
The study was published Wednesday in the journal JAMA Cardiology.
Sudden cardiac arrest occurs when the heart suddenly stops beating due to electrical problems. It's different than a heart attack, which occurs when blood circulation in the heart is blocked, CNN reported.
A study published in the American Heart Journal in 2010 found that 34% of people who died from sudden cardiac arrest had signs of a previous undetected heart attack.
Bakery Products Sold at Stores Nationwide Recalled by Flowers Foods
Hamburger and hot dog buns and other bakery products sold under a variety of brand names have been recalled because they may contain small pieces of hard plastic that could pose a choking hazard, says Georgia-based Flowers Foods, Inc.
Besides bearing the Flowers label, the baked goods were also sold under brand names such as 7-Eleven, Grissoms, IGA, Market Pantry, Publix, Piggly Wiggly, and Wonder, among others.
A full list of the recalled brands can be found here.
The products were distributed to stores in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, Mississippi, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia.
The recall was triggered by the discovery of small pieces of hard plastic in production equipment. No injuries or illnesses linked with the recalled products have been reported, according to the company.
The recalled products should be thrown away or returned to the place of purchase for a full refund. For more information consumers can call Flowers Foods at 1-866-245-8921.