Health Highlights: Nov. 13, 2012

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

Experts Raise Questions About Tamiflu

There is no evidence that Tamiflu can actually stop the flu and drug maker Roche should release all its data on the drug, the British Medical Journal says.

Dozens of governments worldwide have stockpiled Tamiflu in case of a global flu outbreak. The drug was widely used during the 2009 H1N1 swine flu pandemic, the Associated Press reported.

One researcher linked to the British Medical Journal said European governments should sue Roche.

"I suggest we boycott Roche's products until they publish missing Tamiflu data," wrote Peter Gotzsche, leader of the Nordic Cochrane Center in Copenhagen, Denmark. Governments should take legal action against Roche to recover money that was "needlessly" spent on stockpiling Tamiflu, Gotzsche suggested, the AP reported.

In 2009, Cochrane Center scientists evaluated flu drugs and found no proof that Tamiflu reduced the number of complications in flu patients. The Cochrane researchers and the British Medical Journal asked Roche to release all its Tamiflu data.

"Despite a public promise to release (internal company reports) for each (Tamiflu) trial...Roche has stonewalled," journal editor Fiona Godlee wrote in an editorial last month.

In 2011, Tamiflu was included on a list of "essential medicine" by the World Health Organization, which recommended the drug be used to treat unusual influenza viruses such as bird flu.

"We do have substantive evidence it can stop or hinder progression to severe disease like pneumonia," WHO spokesman Gregory Hartl told the AP.

Roche released a statement saying it had complied with all legal requirements on publishing data about Tamiflu and that it had given Gotzsche and his colleagues 3,200 pages of information about the drug.

"Roche has made full clinical study data...available to national health authorities according to their various requirements, so they can conduct their own analyses," the company's statement said.

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Nestle Recalls Nesquick Chocolate Powder

Possible salmonella contamination has led Nestle to voluntarily recall some batches of Nesquick Chocolate Powder.

The company announced the recall after it learned that ingredient supplier Omya Inc. had issued a recall of certain lots of its calcium carbonate due to the possible presence of salmonella. Calcium carbonate is an ingredient in Nesquick.

The recalled chocolate powder was distributed across the United States and has a Best Before date of October 2014. No other varieties of Nesquick powder or any sizes or flavors of Nesquick ready-to-drink are included in the recall.

The recall covers the following Nesquick Chocolate Powder products:

  • 40.7 oz, (72 servings). UPC code, 0 28000 68230 9. Production codes 2282574810 and 2282574820.
  • 21.8 oz., (38 servings). UPC code 0 28000 68090 9. Productions codes: 2278574810, 2278574820, 2279574810, 2279574820, 2284574820, 2284574830, 2285574810, 2285574820, 2287574820, 2289574810, 2289574820.
  • 10.9 oz., (19 servings). UPC code 0 28000 67990 3. Production code 2278574810.

Consumers with these products should return them to the place of purchase or contact Nestle at 1-800-628-7679. No illnesses associated with the recalled products have been reported, according to Nestle.

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Company Will Discontinue 7Up with Antioxidants

The soft drink 7Up with antioxidants will be taken off the market by 2013, says beverage maker Dr. Pepper Snapple Group.

The announcement was made after the consumer group Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) launched a lawsuit saying that the drink's health claims are misleading and illegal. But the Texas-based Dr. Pepper Snapple group said its decision to discontinue 7Up with antioxidants had nothing to do with the lawsuit, according to CBS News/Associated Press.

The lawsuit charges that the drink's claims are misleading because they give the impression that the antioxidants in the product come from fruits pictured on the label, while they're actually from added vitamin E.

The CSPI also argues that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration prohibits candies and soft drinks from being fortified with nutrients. The lawsuit was launched on behalf of a California man who bought the soft drink but said he didn't know the antioxidants didn't come from fruit juices, CBS/AP reported.

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Posted: November 2012


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