Health Highlights: May 23, 2014

Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:

California Counties Sue Drug Companies Over Painkiller Ads

Five drug companies are being sued by two California counties who accuse the firms of making misleading and false claims about the safety of powerful opioid painkillers.

The lawsuit filed Wednesday by Orange and Santa Clara counties allege false advertising, unfair competition and creating a public nuisance, the Associated Press reported.

The lawsuit, filed on behalf of the entire state of California, demands a halt to marketing campaigns involving opioid painkillers and seeks an unspecified amount of compensation for alleged harm to public health and patients.

The suit claims that the rise in opioid painkiller overdoses places a heavy burden on hospital emergency departments and contributes to increasing medical costs, the AP reported.

The legal action targets Johnson & Johnson's Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Purdue Pharma, Actavis, Endo Health Solutions Inc., and Teva Pharmaceutical Industries' Cephalon Inc.

In 2010, opioid painkillers contributed to 16,651 deaths in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That was more than twice the number of deaths caused by cocaine and heroin combined.

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Recalled Hummus and Dip Could Pose Listeria Risk

Nearly 15,000 pounds of hummus and dip products are being recalled by Lansal, Inc. due to possible contamination with listeria bacteria, which can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young, frail and elderly people.

The company has told wholesalers and retailers to halt sales of all the recalled products sold under brand names such as Target Archer Farms, Giant Eagle, Trader Joe's and Tryst. No illnesses have been reported, according to Lansal.

The company said that people with the recalled hummus and dips should either throw them out or return them to the place of purchase for a full refund.

For more information, call Lansal at 1-877-550-0694 between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. EST seven days a week.

Posted: May 2014


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