Are all ultra-processed foods linked to cancer and diabetes?
The consumption of ultraprocessed foods has been linked to various individual chronic diseases such as cancer, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. Now, a large study confirms that they are also linked to comorbidities, or combinations of such diseases.

The study finds that there is a 9% increase in the likelihood of developing cardiovascular and cardiometabolic comorbidities for those whose diet consists of a significant amount of ultra-processed foods.

The greatest increase in risk, according to the study, was for animal-based products and artificially and sugar-sweetened beverages.

I do think that it is important to communicate to the public that certain subgroups of ultraprocessed foods should be preferred over others. For example, plant-based vs. animal-based products… (Continue to full article)

When insurers turned down patient’s request for cancer treatment, they didn’t know he was a top trial lawyer
In August 2018, Robert Salim and eight of his friends and relatives flew to the steamy heat of New York City to watch the U.S. Open.

The group — most of them lawyers who were old tennis buddies from college — gathered every few years to attend the championship. They raced from court to court to catch as many matches as possible. They hung out at bars, splurged on high-priced meals and caught up on each others’ lives.

But that year, Salim had trouble walking the half-mile from the subway station to the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows without stopping two or three times to rest. Back in his hotel room, he was coughing badly, his phlegm speckled with spots of blood. Although he had kept fit for a 67-year-old, he felt ragged…

Many insurers won’t pay for certain specialized or expensive treatments unless a patient gets approval in advance. Blue Cross and other health plans often farm out those reviews to companies like AIM. The insurance industry maintains such companies keep health care costs down and help patients by rejecting unnecessary and unproven treatments.

Critics say the companies unfairly deny claims, noting that they market themselves to insurers by promising to slash costs… (Continue to full article)

CDC Responds to Claims About Chinese Biolab in California

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has said it “strongly disputes” criticism of the federal agency contained in a major new report, produced by the House Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), concerning an alleged secret biolab in Reedley, California.

According to the report, thousands of vials containing potentially dangerous or unknown substances, including some labeled “Ebola” and “HIV,” were uncovered during an inspection of what was initially thought to be a vacant warehouse. The facility was uncovered in December 2022 by Jesalyn Harper, a Reedley code enforcement official who spotted a green hose sticking out of the building, and then went in to investigate. Inside, Harper found an array of laboratory equipment, medical-grade freezers, mice for experiments and vials containing writing in English, Mandarin and an unknown code.

Several individuals wearing lab coats were also discovered who claimed to be Chinese nationals (Continue to full article)

Court orders Balance of Nature to stop sales of supplements after FDA lawsuits
A federal court ordered the brand Balance of Nature to stop producing and selling its dietary supplement products this week, after the Food and Drug Administration accused the two Utah-based companies behind it of repeatedly breaking the law in how they made and marketed their supplements.

The FDA says the company marketing Balance of Nature, Evig LLC, and its CEO Lex Howard had flouted years of federal warnings about overstepping limits in what they could claim about diseases their supplements could cure or prevent.

Meanwhile, those responsible for manufacturing the supplements, Premium Productions LLC and its CEO Ryan Petersen, were accused of not doing enough to ensure their products actually contained the ingredients they claimed to.

“We previously warned Evig LLC and Premium Production LLC, but they have demonstrated repeated violations of manufacturing requirements, and the public cannot have confidence that their products are what they purport to be,” Michael Rogers, FDA’s acting associate commissioner for regulatory affairs… (Continue to full article)

Express Scripts announces new ‘cost-plus’ drug pricing model

Express Scripts has announced a new pharmacy network option that offers “cost plus” drug pricing for employers and health plans.

Clients pay the estimated acquisition cost that the pharmacy pays for the medication, plus a small markup for pharmacy dispensing and service costs.

The “cost plus” model option covers all brand, specialty and generic medications on the client’s formulary. Other models in the market offer pricing only on a select group of generics at a small group of pharmacies, Express Scripts said.

Express Scripts is the pharmacy benefits management business of Evernorth, a subsidiary of Cigna. The new pharmacy network option, ClearNetwork is for employers, government organizations and health plans… (Continue to full article)

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