Daily Archives: February 12, 2015

Doctors warn of healthcare impact from Pacific trade pact

(Reuters) – Doctors and health professionals from both sides of the Pacific on Thursday said they worry that a major regional trade pact could result in higher medical costs and urged a full assessment of the pact’s impact on healthcare.

In a letter to be published in The Lancet medical journal, academics and medical associations from seven of the 12 countries negotiating the Trans-Pacific Partnership voiced their concerns over the deal, which seeks to cut tariffs and set common standards on intellectual property.

“Rising medicine costs would disproportionately affect already vulnerable populations, obstructing efforts to improve health equity within and between countries,” they wrote in the letter.

“We call on our governments to publicly release the full (TPP) draft text, and to secure independent and comprehensive assessments of the health and human rights consequences of the proposed agreement for each nation.”

The letter was signed by 27 academics, doctors and health professionals, including the heads of the Public Health Association of Australia, the Public Health Association of New Zealand, the Canadian Public Health Association, the Vietnam Public Health Association and the Malaysia AIDS Council.

With the TPP talks nearing completion, one of the thorniest outstanding issues is the monopoly period for biologic drugs, which include some of the latest cancer treatments, such as Roche Holding AG’s Herceptin for breast cancer and Merck & Co’s Gardasil for cervical cancer.

The United States protects biologics for 12 years, while Japan protects them for eight years and Australia for five. Some other countries like Chile have no special protections at all.

The issue is particularly difficult for Australia and New Zealand, which have taxpayer-funded subsidy schemes for medicines. Costs could balloon if cheaper generic drugs are slower to come to market.

Deborah Gleeson, a lecturer at Australia’s La Trobe University and one of the letter’s authors, estimates that generic versions of the 10 most expensive drugs available under that country’s Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme would save more than A$200 million a year.

The Australian and New Zealand trade ministers have both said they will do nothing to undermine public health programs.

U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman said on Jan. 27 that the United States had argued that data protection can help promote innovation and make sure that drugs come to markets earlier, but acknowledged the issue was “one of the most difficult.”

“Our goal is on one hand to promote innovation and creativity in this country, and also to ensure access to affordable medicines, particularly in developing countries,” he told a congressional hearing.

(Reporting by Krista Hughes; Editing by Leslie Adler)


Source: Newsjyoti Health

Minnesota to be first U.S. orchestra to play in Cuba since diplomatic thaw

<span class="articleLocatio

n”>(Reuters) – The Minnesota Orchestra will play Beethoven in Cuba this spring, becoming the first U.S. orchestra to perform there since the United States and Cuba agreed to restore diplomatic relations.

The orchestra will perform two concerts on the communist-ruled island on May 15 and 16 as part of the 19th annual International Cubadisco Festival, the Minneapolis-based orchestra said in a statement on Thursday.

The Minneapolis Symphony, the orchestra’s predecessor, had previously done tours to Havana in 1929 and 1930.

In addition to Beethoven’s Choral Fantasy with the Cuban National Choir and Cuban pianist Frank Fernandez, the orchestra will perform Beethoven’s Symphony No. 3, Eroica, which was also performed in the 1929 visit.

“We are humbled to be a part of the exciting process of re-establishing America’s cultural ties with the nation of Cuba,” Concertmaster Erin Keefe said in a statement. “This tour represents a unique chance to bring two cultures together through music, and we could not be more grateful for the opportunity.”

Other U.S. orchestras have visited Cuba during the last five decades of communist rule, including the Milwaukee Symphony during the 1990s, said Minnesota Orchestra spokeswoman Gwen Pappas. But this would be the first orchestra visit since U.S. President Barack Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro announced the beginning of the process of normalizing relations in December.

(Reporting by Mary Wisniewski in Chicago; Editing by Mohammad Zargham)


Source: Newsjyoti Lifestyle

Minnesota to be first U.S. orchestra to play in Cuba since diplomatic thaw

<span class="articleLocatio

n”>(Reuters) – The Minnesota Orchestra will play Beethoven in Cuba this spring, becoming the first U.S. orchestra to perform there since the United States and Cuba agreed to restore diplomatic relations.

The orchestra will perform two concerts on the communist-ruled island on May 15 and 16 as part of the 19th annual International Cubadisco Festival, the Minneapolis-based orchestra said in a statement on Thursday.

The Minneapolis Symphony, the orchestra’s predecessor, had previously done tours to Havana in 1929 and 1930.

In addition to Beethoven’s Choral Fantasy with the Cuban National Choir and Cuban pianist Frank Fernandez, the orchestra will perform Beethoven’s Symphony No. 3, Eroica, which was also performed in the 1929 visit.

“We are humbled to be a part of the exciting process of re-establishing America’s cultural ties with the nation of Cuba,” Concertmaster Erin Keefe said in a statement. “This tour represents a unique chance to bring two cultures together through music, and we could not be more grateful for the opportunity.”

Other U.S. orchestras have visited Cuba during the last five decades of communist rule, including the Milwaukee Symphony during the 1990s, said Minnesota Orchestra spokeswoman Gwen Pappas. But this would be the first orchestra visit since U.S. President Barack Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro announced the beginning of the process of normalizing relations in December.

(Reporting by Mary Wisniewski in Chicago; Editing by Mohammad Zargham)


Source: Newsjyoti Lifestyle

Softer, less strident outreach may help calm U.S. vaccine skeptics

Melissa Orion, 31, holds son Jackson, 8 months, as her other son, Zen Orion-Orchard, 10, watches his younger brother, while in the courtyard of the Ashland Food Cooperative in Ashland, Oregon
Melissa Orion, 31, holds son Jackson, 8 months, as her other son, Zen Orion-Orchard, 10, watches his younger brother, while in the courtyard of the Ashland Food Cooperative in Ashland, Oregon February 4, 2015. REUTERS/Amanda Loman


(Reuters) – When Melissa Orion’s unvaccinated baby contracted whooping cough, she was grateful for modern medicine – its emergency rooms and even its antibiotics.

 

But the Ashland, Oregon, mom did not question her decision not to inoculate her child, and still does not, despite the outbreak of measles in some 20 U.S. states, linked to California’s Disneyland park, that has infected more than 120 people.

“I put him on antibiotics,” the 31-year-old artist said. “But I felt the risk of vaccine was worse.”

College-educated, middle-class and white, Orion is like many in this quaint city of 21,000 just north of the California border who have declined to vaccinate their children.

As measles cases have spread in the United States and a new outbreak of mumps has sickened at least 23 people in the northwest states of Idaho and Washington, much attention has been focused on parents who decline some or all vaccinations for their children.

In Ashland, a quarter of kindergarteners started school last year without all their vaccinations, among the highest rates in the country. None of the community’s public schools has the 92 percent of vaccinated kindergarteners needed to provide the so-called herd immunity that protects those who are vulnerable to infection.

But persuading the community’s independent-minded, frequently affluent families to change their views is a perplexing task for public health officials, who are more used to helping the poorest and least educated parents find free or low-cost vaccinations than having to argue people out of deeply held convictions.

So some are retooling their messages, meeting with families one-on-one, and toning down sometimes strident rhetoric.

“We needed to change our tone,” said nurse Becky Sherman, project manager for the county’s Ashland Immunization Team, which was set up in 2011.

The new approach may be working.

Officials in Ashland, famous for its Shakespeare Festival, pitched a child health website to a 12th grade or higher reading level, while noting that parents who refrain from vaccinating are doing so out of concern for their babies.

Over the past three years, the number of unvaccinated or partially vaccinated school children in Ashland has dropped from nearly 30 percent to less than 25 percent, said Samuel Bogdanove, director of student services at the Ashland Public Schools.

The county’s child health website uses what Sherman calls respectful “Ashland-speak” to address parents.

“Whatever your current views are on vaccines and immunizations, this site is designed to serve as a resource for you,” the site says.

That is a far cry from many outreach efforts, which tend to be more strident, and not always effective.

A study published in the journal Pediatrics last year looked at four arguments for parents who declined measles vaccinations for their kids.

The researchers shared photographs of sick children, told of an infant who almost died, distributed information about the dangers of measles and debunked a feared link between the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine and autism.

None of the messages worked. And the one shooting down the autism connection backfired.

“When you challenge people’s beliefs they tend to try to defend them,” said Dartmouth political scientist Brendan Nyhan, who worked on the study. “We should test the messaging we use to make sure it’s not counter-productive.”

CENTURIES-OLD DISTRUST

Vaccine skepticism dates back to smallpox inoculation in the late 1700s, when many feared they would instead contract the disease. Bad reactions to the polio vaccine led to its refusal by some parents in the 1950s and 1960s, and a now-discredited paper linking the measles vaccine to autism in 1998 sparked the latest round.

Other parents cite the preservative thimerosal, a mercury-containing compound found in trace amounts in some vaccines, or believe kids are healthier if their immune systems develop naturally.

While most Americans do immunize their children, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), at least 20 U.S. states allow public school students to take exemptions from vaccines based on personal beliefs, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Pockets of vaccine-refusal have grown in these states, including wealthy Marin County in California’s San Francisco Bay Area and parts of Colorado.

In Sacramento, public charter schools serving immigrants from the former Soviet Union have vaccination rates well below the 92 percent needed to keep diseases like measles at bay. At one campus run by the non-profit Gateway Community Charters, just 45 percent of kindergartners are fully immunized, data show.

“All the other kids are coughing and sneezing and mine are great,” said Inna Lastovskiy, a mother of five who fully vaccinated only her oldest child.

To better communicate with parents, Gateway hired a public health nurse, Gina Warkentin, who has been meeting with families privately.

“My intention is to educate people, not to offend anyone,” Warkentin said. Sometimes she urges them to start with a single vaccine.

Over the past two years, the number of unvaccinated or partially vaccinated children in Gateway schools has dropped, said Assistant Superintendent Michael Gillespie.

“Different parents need different types of information and they need information provided in a different way,” said Amanda Cohn, deputy director for immunization services at the CDC.

For example, she said, persuading Amish parents to vaccinate after a measles outbreak last year in Ohio required a different approach than would work with Internet-savvy parents in California. Nationwide, 92 percent of children were vaccinated against measles in 2013, up from 91 percent the prior year, the CDC said.

In Ashland, a chicken pox outbreak in December forced the cancellation of two popular holiday events and sidelined 30 students, said Jackson County public health chief Dr. James Shames. Afterward, some parents rushed to have their children vaccinated, Shames said.

But not Hannah Wirth, 34. “It scares me,” Wirth said. “The mercury and other chemicals in vaccines don’t seem natural to put in the body.”


Source: Newsjyoti Health

Softer, less strident outreach may help calm U.S. vaccine skeptics

Melissa Orion, 31, holds son Jackson, 8 months, as her other son, Zen Orion-Orchard, 10, watches his younger brother, while in the courtyard of the Ashland Food Cooperative in Ashland, Oregon February 4, 2015. REUTERS/Amanda Loman


(Reuters) – When Melissa Orion’s unvaccinated baby contracted whooping cough, she was grateful for modern medicine – its emergency rooms and even its antibiotics.

But the Ashland, Oregon, mom did not question her decision not to inoculate her child, and still does not, despite the outbreak of measles in some 20 U.S. states, linked to California’s Disneyland park, that has infected more than 120 people.

“I put him on antibiotics,” the 31-year-old artist said. “But I felt the risk of vaccine was worse.”

College-educated, middle-class and white, Orion is like many in this quaint city of 21,000 just north of the California border who have declined to vaccinate their children.

As measles cases have spread in the United States and a new outbreak of mumps has sickened at least 23 people in the northwest states of Idaho and Washington, much attention has been focused on parents who decline some or all vaccinations for their children.

In Ashland, a quarter of kindergarteners started school last year without all their vaccinations, among the highest rates in the country. None of the community’s public schools has the 92 percent of vaccinated kindergarteners needed to provide the so-called herd immunity that protects those who are vulnerable to infection.

But persuading the community’s independent-minded, frequently affluent families to change their views is a perplexing task for public health officials, who are more used to helping the poorest and least educated parents find free or low-cost vaccinations than having to argue people out of deeply held convictions.

So some are retooling their messages, meeting with families one-on-one, and toning down sometimes strident rhetoric.

“We needed to change our tone,” said nurse Becky Sherman, project manager for the county’s Ashland Immunization Team, which was set up in 2011.

The new approach may be working.

Officials in Ashland, famous for its Shakespeare Festival, pitched a child health website to a 12th grade or higher reading level, while noting that parents who refrain from vaccinating are doing so out of concern for their babies.

Over the past three years, the number of unvaccinated or partially vaccinated school children in Ashland has dropped from nearly 30 percent to less than 25 percent, said Samuel Bogdanove, director of student services at the Ashland Public Schools.

The county’s child health website uses what Sherman calls respectful “Ashland-speak” to address parents.

“Whatever your current views are on vaccines and immunizations, this site is designed to serve as a resource for you,” the site says.

That is a far cry from many outreach efforts, which tend to be more strident, and not always effective.

A study published in the journal Pediatrics last year looked at four arguments for parents who declined measles vaccinations for their kids.

The researchers shared photographs of sick children, told of an infant who almost died, distributed information about the dangers of measles and debunked a feared link between the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine and autism.

None of the messages worked. And the one shooting down the autism connection backfired.

“When you challenge people’s beliefs they tend to try to defend them,” said Dartmouth political scientist Brendan Nyhan, who worked on the study. “We should test the messaging we use to make sure it’s not counter-productive.”

CENTURIES-OLD DISTRUST

Vaccine skepticism dates back to smallpox inoculation in the late 1700s, when many feared they would instead contract the disease. Bad reactions to the polio vaccine led to its refusal by some parents in the 1950s and 1960s, and a now-discredited paper linking the measles vaccine to autism in 1998 sparked the latest round.

Other parents cite the preservative thimerosal, a mercury-containing compound found in trace amounts in some vaccines, or believe kids are healthier if their immune systems develop naturally.

While most Americans do immunize their children, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), at least 20 U.S. states allow public school students to take exemptions from vaccines based on personal beliefs, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Pockets of vaccine-refusal have grown in these states, including wealthy Marin County in California’s San Francisco Bay Area and parts of Colorado.

In Sacramento, public charter schools serving immigrants from the former Soviet Union have vaccination rates well below the 92 percent needed to keep diseases like measles at bay. At one campus run by the non-profit Gateway Community Charters, just 45 percent of kindergartners are fully immunized, data show.

“All the other kids are coughing and sneezing and mine are great,” said Inna Lastovskiy, a mother of five who fully vaccinated only her oldest child.

To better communicate with parents, Gateway hired a public health nurse, Gina Warkentin, who has been meeting with families privately.

“My intention is to educate people, not to offend anyone,” Warkentin said. Sometimes she urges them to start with a single vaccine.

Over the past two years, the number of unvaccinated or partially vaccinated children in Gateway schools has dropped, said Assistant Superintendent Michael Gillespie.

“Different parents need different types of information and they need information provided in a different way,” said Amanda Cohn, deputy director for immunization services at the CDC.

For example, she said, persuading Amish parents to vaccinate after a measles outbreak last year in Ohio required a different approach than would work with Internet-savvy parents in California. Nationwide, 92 percent of children were vaccinated against measles in 2013, up from 91 percent the prior year, the CDC said.

In Ashland, a chicken pox outbreak in December forced the cancellation of two popular holiday events and sidelined 30 students, said Jackson County public health chief Dr. James Shames. Afterward, some parents rushed to have their children vaccinated, Shames said.

But not Hannah Wirth, 34. “It scares me,” Wirth said. “The mercury and other chemicals in vaccines don’t seem natural to put in the body.”


Source: Newsjyoti Health

UPDATE 1-ConAgra names Sean Connolly CEO, cuts profit forecast

(Adds details, background, share movement)

<span class="articleLocatio

n”>Feb 12 (Reuters) – ConAgra Foods Inc, the maker of
Slim Jim beef jerky and Chef Boyardee pasta, appointed former
Hillshire Brands Co Chief Executive Sean Connolly its CEO,
replacing Gary Rodkin.

ConAgra Foods, whose shares were down 5.2 percent in
extended trading on Thursday, also cut its profit forecast for
the year ending May citing a stronger dollar and weak sales in
its private brands business.

Connolly, who will take over on April 6, led Hillshire
Brands before it was sold to Tyson Foods Inc in August.

Rodkin will stay on as an adviser until he retires on May
31, the company said.

ConAgra said in December that recovery in its private brands
business was taking longer than planned due to lower sales and
intense competition, and it expected improvements from the year
ending May 2016.

The company said on Thursday that the forecast cut was
partly due to falling exports of its Lamb Weston potato
products.

Exports were hampered by ongoing labor dispute in the West
Coast, which has continued longer than the company expected,
ConAgra said, forecasting a shipment backlog for some time after
the dispute is resolved.

The Omaha, Nebraska-based company said it now expected 2015
profit of $2.13-$2.18 per share, below analysts’ estimates of
$2.26 per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

ConAgra in December forecast full-year profit to rise by
mid-single digit percent from $2.17 per share reported in 2014.

(Reporting by Nayan Das in Bengaluru; Editing by Kirti Pandey
and Joyjeet Das)


Source: Newsjyoti Hot Stock News

UPDATE 1-ConAgra names Sean Connolly CEO, cuts profit forecast

(Adds details, background, share movement)

<span class="articleLocatio

n”>Feb 12 (Reuters) – ConAgra Foods Inc, the maker of
Slim Jim beef jerky and Chef Boyardee pasta, appointed former
Hillshire Brands Co Chief Executive Sean Connolly its CEO,
replacing Gary Rodkin.

ConAgra Foods, whose shares were down 5.2 percent in
extended trading on Thursday, also cut its profit forecast for
the year ending May citing a stronger dollar and weak sales in
its private brands business.

Connolly, who will take over on April 6, led Hillshire
Brands before it was sold to Tyson Foods Inc in August.

Rodkin will stay on as an adviser until he retires on May
31, the company said.

ConAgra said in December that recovery in its private brands
business was taking longer than planned due to lower sales and
intense competition, and it expected improvements from the year
ending May 2016.

The company said on Thursday that the forecast cut was
partly due to falling exports of its Lamb Weston potato
products.

Exports were hampered by ongoing labor dispute in the West
Coast, which has continued longer than the company expected,
ConAgra said, forecasting a shipment backlog for some time after
the dispute is resolved.

The Omaha, Nebraska-based company said it now expected 2015
profit of $2.13-$2.18 per share, below analysts’ estimates of
$2.26 per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

ConAgra in December forecast full-year profit to rise by
mid-single digit percent from $2.17 per share reported in 2014.

(Reporting by Nayan Das in Bengaluru; Editing by Kirti Pandey
and Joyjeet Das)


Source: Newsjyoti Hot Stock News

Commuter infected with measles is San Francisco LinkedIn employee

(Reuters) – The Northern California commuter who health officials say may have exposed tens of thousands of people to measles while riding San Francisco’s Bay Area Rapid Transit system while infectious is an employee of LinkedIn Corp, the social networking company said on Thursday.

The passenger, who commuted to and from LinkedIn’s offices in San Francisco on three days last week and also spent time at a San Francisco restaurant and bar, represents the first case of measles confirmed in Contra Costa County during an outbreak of the disease that began in December.

“On Tuesday, Feb. 10, we were informed that an employee based in our San Francisco office was diagnosed with measles. We are working very closely with the San Francisco Department of Public Health, and following their recommended protocol for managing this situation,” LinkedIn said in a written statement.

“The health and well-being of our employees is our absolute top priority, and we will take whatever steps are advised to ensure their safety and the safety of the general public,” the business-oriented social networking site said.

Hani Durzy, director of corporate communications, said the company was keeping its employees informed about the situation but that it was otherwise “business as usual” in its San Francisco offices. The infected employee was doing fine, he said.

Public health officials have sought to assure BART riders that the risk of contracting measles was very low if they had been inoculated, while urging anyone who had not to get the vaccine.

According to the California Department of Public Health, 110 cases of measles have been confirmed in California, 39 of them linked to the outbreak that authorities believe began when an infected person from out of the country visited Disneyland in late December.

More than three dozen more cases have been documented in other U.S. states and in Mexico. Most people recover from measles within a few weeks, although it can be fatal in some cases.

The measles outbreak has renewed a debate over the so-called anti-vaccination movement, in which fears about potential side effects of vaccines, fueled by now-debunked research suggesting a link to autism, have prompted a small minority of parents to refuse inoculations for their children.

Measles was declared eliminated in the United States in 2000 after decades of intensive childhood vaccine efforts. But in 2014 the country had its highest number of measles cases in 20 years.

(Additional reporting by Christina Farr; Editing by Eric Walsh)


Source: Newsjyoti Health

Commuter infected with measles is San Francisco LinkedIn employee

(Reuters) – The Northern California commuter who health officials say may have exposed tens of thousands of people to measles while riding San Francisco’s Bay Area Rapid Transit system while infectious is an employee of LinkedIn Corp, the social networking company said on Thursday.

The passenger, who commuted to and from LinkedIn’s offices in San Francisco on three days last week and also spent time at a San Francisco restaurant and bar, represents the first case of measles confirmed in Contra Costa County during an outbreak of the disease that began in December.

“On Tuesday, Feb. 10, we were informed that an employee based in our San Francisco office was diagnosed with measles. We are working very closely with the San Francisco Department of Public Health, and following their recommended protocol for managing this situation,” LinkedIn said in a written statement.

“The health and well-being of our employees is our absolute top priority, and we will take whatever steps are advised to ensure their safety and the safety of the general public,” the business-oriented social networking site said.

Hani Durzy, director of corporate communications, said the company was keeping its employees informed about the situation but that it was otherwise “business as usual” in its San Francisco offices. The infected employee was doing fine, he said.

Public health officials have sought to assure BART riders that the risk of contracting measles was very low if they had been inoculated, while urging anyone who had not to get the vaccine.

According to the California Department of Public Health, 110 cases of measles have been confirmed in California, 39 of them linked to the outbreak that authorities believe began when an infected person from out of the country visited Disneyland in late December.

More than three dozen more cases have been documented in other U.S. states and in Mexico. Most people recover from measles within a few weeks, although it can be fatal in some cases.

The measles outbreak has renewed a debate over the so-called anti-vaccination movement, in which fears about potential side effects of vaccines, fueled by now-debunked research suggesting a link to autism, have prompted a small minority of parents to refuse inoculations for their children.

Measles was declared eliminated in the United States in 2000 after decades of intensive childhood vaccine efforts. But in 2014 the country had its highest number of measles cases in 20 years.

(Additional reporting by Christina Farr; Editing by Eric Walsh)


Source: Newsjyoti Health

UPDATE 1-New games help King Digital revenue, profit beat estimates

(Compares with estimates, adds details, share move)

<span class="articleLocatio

n”>Feb 12 (Reuters) – Mobile game maker King Digital
Entertainment Plc’s quarterly revenue and profit
handily beat market estimates as newer games such as “Candy
Crush Soda Saga” more than made up for declining popularity of
older titles.

King Digital, whose shares jumped 18 percent in extended
trading on Thursday, also said it would buy Seattle-based game
developer Z2Live Inc.

Total gross bookings, an indicator of future revenue,
increased 8 percent to $586 million in the fourth quarter ended
Dec. 31 from the third quarter 2014.

Analysts on average had expected bookings of $541.4 million,
according to market research firm StreetAccount.

“Candy Crush Saga,” a free game that makes money by selling
virtual items to gamers who move candies to line up at least
three of the same color, accounted for about 45 percent of the
bookings.

Bookings from the game, however, declined from a quarter
ago.

“Candy Crush Soda Saga,” a sister title of the original,
also follows a similar match-three format.

King Digital’s revenue fell to $545.6 million from $601.7
million a year earlier.

Net income fell to $140.6 million, or 44 cents per share,
from $159.2 million, or 50 cents per share.

Excluding items, the company earned 57 cents per share.

Analysts on average had expected a profit of 47 cents per
share, on revenue of $519.9 million, according to Thomson
Reuters I/B/E/S.

The company also announced a special dividend of 94 cents
per share.

(Reporting by Anya George Tharakan in Bengaluru; Editing by
Joyjeet Das)


Source: Newsjyoti Hot Stock News