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Health Highlights: June 19, 2012

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

Roger Clemens Found Not Guilty of Lying About Drug Use

Former star pitcher Roger Clemens was acquitted Monday of all charges that he lied when he told Congress in 2008 that he never used steroids or human growth hormone during his career.

The verdict came on the second full day of deliberations in United States District Court. It was the federal government's second failed attempt at convicting Clemens, The New York Times reported.

Clemens, 49, had been charged with one count of obstructing Congress, three counts of making false statements, and two counts of perjury in connection with his testimony to a House committee.

If convicted on all six counts, the seven-time Cy Young Award winner would have faced up to 30 years in federal prison, The Times reported.


No Single Food Product Responsible for Rising Obesity Rates: Coca-Cola CEO

Rising obesity rates in the United States cannot be blamed on any single ingredient, product or category of food, according to Coca-Cola Company CEO Muhtar Kent.

"This is an important, complicated societal issue that we all have to work together to provide a solution," Kent said in a Wall Street Journal interview published Monday, Agence France-Presse reported.

"That's why we are working with government, business and civil society to have active lifestyle programs in every country we operate by 2015," he said.

Kent's remarks were made as New York City considers a proposal to restrict the sale of sugar-sweetened beverages such as soft drinks to 16-ounce servings, AFP reported. The law would apply to restaurants and public entertainment venues such as stadiums.

The ban is needed to help deal with the obesity epidemic in the U.S., according to Mayor Michael Bloomberg.


Lobbying Scuttles Proposed Painkiller Restrictions

Lobbying by pharmacist and drugstore groups appears to have derailed efforts to impose stricter controls on prescription painkillers that are widely abused, according to members of Congress.

The restrictions would apply to products like hydrocodone that are used to treat moderate to severe pain. The Senate approved the restrictions last month as part of a bill reauthorizing user fees for the Food and Drug Administration, but the House version of the bill does not include the provisions, The New York Times reported.

The proposed controls are supported by senators and law enforcement officials, but pharmacists and drugstore organizations say they will make it more difficult for patients to get the drugs and will increase overhead costs for pharmacies.

"We don't want to put anybody out of business," Senator Joe Manchin III, a West Virginia Democrat who led the push for the new restrictions, told The Times.

"But perhaps the chain pharmacies and druggists need to change their business model a bit. These are legal drugs needed by some people. But they can also be addictive. They are so readily accessible, so easy to obtain, that they are ravaging society and ending many young lives," Manchin said.


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Posted: June 2012