Medicine and Health

Childhood and adolescent obesity worldwide expected to increase 70 percent by 2030

By Katy Kinner, 19 October 2019

The world’s first “Atlas of Childhood Obesity” predicts steep increases in childhood obesity across the world with low- and middle-income countries most impacted.

The 2019 Nobel Prize in Medicine awarded for research in cellular responses to oxygen

By Benjamin Mateus, 10 October 2019

Everyone understands the general need for oxygen, but how cells actually use it has not been well understood.

As US vaping-related lung illnesses soar, FDA found negligent in enforcing e-cig regulations

By Benjamin Mateus, 7 October 2019

A report issued by the NIH’s drug abuse section highlights the dramatic rise in vaping among teenagers; 37.3 percent of 12th graders reported they had vaped in the past 12 months.

Study predicts significant outbreaks of measles in Texas due to low vaccination rates

By Gary Joad, 2 October 2019

Texas, the second most populous state, grants the greatest number of vaccine exemptions for personal philosophical and religious reasons of any state in US.

Abrupt closures of two hospitals in West Virginia and Ohio leave region reeling

By Naomi Spencer, 16 September 2019

The termination of critical healthcare services will have a deeply damaging impact on the communities, and potentially deadly consequences for individuals who rely on them.

New York City mayor declares end of measles public health emergency

By Gary Joad, 16 September 2019

During a nine-month period, 52 people were hospitalized and 16 individuals placed in intensive care units. Eighty percent of those contracting measles were children.

US agency warns of lung illness epidemic among young people, attributed to e-cigarettes

By Benjamin Mateus, 9 September 2019

The FDA has issued a public warning of a rapidly developing epidemic of severe lung illnesses associated with “vaping,” with 450 cases confirmed spanning 33 states.

A year after sellout deal

Crisis erupts in New Zealand Nurses Organisation

By Tom Peters, 5 September 2019

Both factions of the NZNO leadership are complicit in imposing a rotten deal in 2018 that entrenched low wages and a staffing shortage in hospitals.

Johnson & Johnson v. State of Oklahoma: How the courts are covering for Big Pharma

By Genevieve Leigh, 29 August 2019

The toothless ruling follows a well-worn pattern in which giant corporations, after committing horrific social crimes, get off with a relatively small fine.

Oklahoma judge finds Johnson & Johnson guilty in opioid epidemic

By Benjamin Mateus, 27 August 2019

While the $572 million judgment fell short of the $17 billion sought by the state, the court’s ruling was an unambiguous finding that the giant corporation deliberately downplayed the dangers of the opioids it manufactured.

Study calls for closure of over half all health clinics in Germany

By Tino Jacobson and Markus Salzmann, 5 August 2019

With the argument that only the closure of clinics can achieve more staffing, better equipment and higher quality, the report calls for the closure of 800 of Germany’s 1,400 hospitals.

UK: Penniless father of three commits suicide while waiting for welfare payment

By Margot Miller, 31 July 2019

Threatened with eviction, Phillip Herron owed £20,000 in debt to the banks, utility firms and pay day lenders that were charging him 1,000 percent interest.

Early peak in Australia influenza season causes concern

By John Mackay, 31 July 2019

The severity of deadly flu outbreaks could be minimised with global free access to vaccination, and the development of a universal vaccine.

Bradford NHS workers to strike against “backdoor privatisation”

By Barry Mason, 24 July 2019

The Bradford hospital trust’s plans are aimed at enforcing government-imposed efficiency cuts of 4 percent each year, around £16 million in the current financial year.

Merchants of death

How the pharmaceutical companies, Congress and the DEA made the opioid epidemic a billion-dollar industry

By Genevieve Leigh, 23 July 2019

Previously undisclosed government information shows how drug manufacturers and distributors responded to the emerging opioid epidemic by pumping more pills into the hardest-hit regions.

Australian cancer victim sues Bayer-Monsanto

By Frank Gaglioti, 23 July 2019

Michael Ogalirolo claims his potentially lethal cancer, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, is due to 18 years of exposure to glyphosate, the active component of the herbicide Roundup.

Euthanasia bill before New Zealand parliament

By John Braddock, 13 July 2019

The bill, which would make assisted suicide legal, is sponsored by leader of the far-right ACT party amid a sharpening social crisis.

Global conflict situations, poverty lead to rise in mental health crises

By Alex Johnson, 9 July 2019

US imperialism and its allies bear principal responsibility for the wars and military interventions that have wrought devastation throughout the world.

Deadly Legionella bacteria found at Ford Dearborn Truck plant

By George Kirby, 5 July 2019

While Ford and the UAW have downplayed the finding, claiming the amounts are small, the CDC says there is no safe level of the bacteria.

Irish unions sabotage health workers’ strikes

By Dermot Byrne, 3 July 2019

Irish health unions called off the walkouts and have sought to divert anger into appeals to the Labour Court.

Protesting nurses speak out in Long Beach, California

By Rafael Azul and Kimie Saito, 28 June 2019

“Patients are not numbers! Maximum patients + minimum nurses = maximum profits. And the costs are passed on to the consumers and us.”

Union works to sabotage unity of Minnesota nurses’ struggle

By Matt Rigel, 28 June 2019

The Minnesota Nurses Association is working to sell out nurses in Minneapolis-St. Paul metro region by negotiating contracts at some hospitals while others remain unsettled.

New petrochemical complex could create a “cancer alley” on Ohio River

By John Ashbrook, 28 June 2019

The Trump administration is backing a tri-state effort to build a huge fossil fuel processing facility that threatens public health and the environment.

Unreported releases from coal ash ponds may be more widespread in US than previously known

By John Ashbrook, 21 June 2019

Millions of people are potentially exposed to toxic coal ash, which can cause bone cancers, leukemia and nervous system and brain damage.

Suicide rates for doctors and young physicians among highest in the US population

By Alex Johnson, 17 June 2019

Doctors are often hesitant to seek treatment, due to the stigma associated with mental health problems.

Questcor Pharmaceuticals and Mallinckrodt: Financial parasitism and the US pharmaceutical industry

By Brian Dixon, 14 May 2019

The business strategy of Questcor and Mallinckrodt reflects the parasitic and predatory nature of the pharmaceutical industry under the pressure of finance capital.

Los Angeles universities quarantine 280 as US measles cases reach record levels

By Kate Randall, 27 April 2019

The CDC reports the number of measles cases has spiked to at least 695 so far this year, the highest number since the disease was declared eliminated in 2000.

New York City declares public health emergency over measles outbreak

By Kate Randall, 11 April 2019

New York City has seen 285 confirmed measles cases since the outbreak began in the fall, with 21 requiring hospitalizations, including five admissions to intensive care units.

Bone marrow transplant removes HIV from a second patient

By Benjamin Mateus, 29 March 2019

The “London patient” will be considered cured if free of the virus for three to four more years.

Houston chemical fire: Residents ordered to “shelter-in-place” due to benzene danger

By Jacob Crosse, 22 March 2019

Residents of Deer Park and Galena Park, east of the Texas city, have been the most affected by the fire at Intercontinental Terminals Company.

US studies: More misery brought to you by Big Pharma

Sharp rise in fentanyl overdose deaths, ADHD-drug-induced psychosis, prescription drug rationing due to cost

By Kate Randall, 22 March 2019

A week rarely passes without the publication of a major study documenting the misery unleashed on Americans by the US pharmaceutical industry and its rapacious drive for profits.

Report: British Columbia mental health problems on the rise

By Penny Smith, 1 March 2019

The annual report by the province’s health officer found that perceptions of mental wellbeing among BC residents were among the lowest in the country.

Rise in drug abuse among women and heterosexual men diagnosed with syphilis

By Benjamin Mateus, 27 February 2019

Many of those affected lack steady employment, health care and stable housing, and face an abusive penal system.

Study links abuse-deterrent OxyContin with rise in hepatitis C infections

By Brian Dixon, 11 February 2019

According to a new study published in Health Affairs, Purdue Pharma’s switch to a new abuse-deterrent formulation of OxyContin in 2010 led to a rise in hepatitis C infections as addicts switched to injecting heroin.

FDA advisor criticizes agency’s response to opioid epidemic

By Brian Dixon, 6 February 2019

The chair of the FDA’s opioid advisory committee claimed the agency is manipulating data in favor of the pharmaceutical companies seeking approval for new opioid painkillers.

Boston jury hears testimony of how Insys Therapeutics pushed opioid painkiller and killed hundreds

By Kate Randall, 5 February 2019

Prosecutors told jurors that Insys executives were guilty of running a kickback and conspiracy scheme that bribed doctors to routinely subscribe Subsys, a highly addictive fentanyl nasal spray.

US: Measles outbreak in Washington state prompts state of emergency

By Kate Randall, 30 January 2019

In addition to the US, there has also been an uptick of people contracting measles in Canada and across Europe due to people foregoing the vaccine.

British Columbia’s opioid crisis hits construction workers hard

By Penny Smith, 29 January 2019

The disproportionately high death rate from opioids among construction workers underscores the precarious working conditions facing tens of thousands of workers in an industry that has produced multi-million dollar profits for real estate developers and property speculators.

Thousands face loss of mental health coverage in the US

By Matthew Taylor, 29 December 2018

Congress has eliminated the Medicaid-sponsored program in line with the larger push by the ruling class to dismantle social programs.

Federal judge in Texas rules Affordable Care Act unconstitutional

By Kate Randall, 17 December 2018

The ruling was opposed by healthcare groups and, if upheld, threatens to throw insurance markets into chaos and strip coverage from tens of millions of Americans.

West Virginia: Task force concludes without a “fix” for public workers’ insurance

By Clement Daly, 17 December 2018

Throughout the strike and pro-forma hearings, teachers and public service workers demanded that health care be funded through increased taxes on the state’s oil and gas industry.

Detroit Medical Center doctors fired after speaking out for patient safety

By Joseph Lorenz, 9 October 2018

In a statement announcing his resignation from the medical staff, Dr. Ted Schreiber said, “Unfortunately, the current focus of some in health care is on profits and stock holder value.”

Faulty vaccines spark public outrage in China

By Gary Alvernia, 8 August 2018

The scandal is the result of cost-cutting measures aimed at boosting profits and subordination of healthcare to the capitalist system.

Trump administration proposes more cuts to drug discount program for safety net hospitals

By Kate Randall, 28 July 2018

The Trump administration and pharmaceuticals’ opposition to the 340B program is based on boosting the profits of the drug companies and clawing back any government regulations on them.

New Zealand nurses speak to WSWS opposing sellout deal

By Tom Peters, 7 July 2018

Nurses denounced the union-backed proposed agreement, which keeps wages low and maintains severe under-staffing of hospitals.

Trump administration supports lawsuit challenging Obamacare’s pre-existing conditions protections

By Kate Randall, 15 June 2018

The action is the latest effort to chip away at the legislation after two failures to repeal it outright.

UK: Students protest cuts to mental health services and increase in youth suicide rate

By Thomas Scripps, 6 June 2018

As of 2017, one in four adults in the UK each year could expect to suffer some form of mental illness; three quarters of these begin before a person reaches his or her 18th birthday.

More US states imposing Medicaid work requirements

By Kate Randall, 14 April 2018

Some states are considering expanding Medicaid while at the same time imposing work requirements, premium payments and drug testing of recipients.

Mississippi governor signs the nation’s most restrictive anti-abortion measure

By Shelley Connor, 24 March 2018

Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant signed into law the toughest restrictions on abortion currently seen in the US, banning all abortions past 15 weeks gestation.

“Financial toxicity” affects poorer cancer patients in Australia

By Margaret Rees, 23 March 2018

High medical payments and reduced income while patients are being treated or recovering from cancer are causing distress and avoidable deaths.

Trump demands death penalty for drug dealers as answer to opioid overdose crisis

By Niles Niemuth, 20 March 2018

Trump blamed the crisis on America’s supposedly lax drug laws and pointed to countries which have “zero tolerance” policies, including the death penalty for dealers and traffickers.

Cluster of 125 people infected with HIV and syphilis discovered in Milwaukee, Wisconsin

By Benjamin Mateus, 12 March 2018

While health advocates have called the outbreak an epidemic requiring immediate attention, city officials have been slow to respond to the situation.

Mental health crisis descends on Puerto Rico’s working class

By Ali Abu Elhassan, 9 March 2018

Suicides have increased by 30 percent on the island of Puerto Rico since Hurricane María made landfall almost six months ago.

UNICEF: Social inequality costs the lives of 7,000 newborns daily

By Shelley Connor, 22 February 2018

According to a UNICEF report released on Tuesday, 2.6 million newborns die annually. Most of these deaths are preventable and most of them are due to social inequality.

The human cost of the destruction of the National Health Service

By NHS FightBack, 3 February 2018

The following statement by NHS FightBack is being distributed today at marches and rallies in defence of the National Health Service in London and other towns and cities.

Insights into a new class of HIV retroviral drugs

By Benjamin Mateus, 30 December 2017

Recent investigation into the process of the HIV virus capsid maturation suggests a new method of disrupting its ability to infect.

Hepatitis A outbreak continues to impact Southeast Michigan

By Muhammad Khan, 29 December 2017

Michigan had the highest per capita rate of hepatitis A infections in the United States with more than 500 cases recorded in 2017.

Sugar industry withheld evidence linking sucrose to bladder cancer for five decades

By Bryan Dyne, 28 November 2017

Internal documents also reveal that the sugar industry suppressed research linking sucrose and heart disease.

Youth suicides at a record high in the UK

By Alice Summers, 14 October 2017

Economic and academic pressures on young people are exacerbated by a systemic decrease of funding for mental health counselling.

Nobel Prize in Medicine awarded for discoveries on the circadian rhythm

By Benjamin Mateus, 4 October 2017

The three scientists explored the molecular processes through which the body adapts physiologically to the Earth’s rotation, including the sleep-wake cycle and much more.

San Diego death toll from hepatitis A outbreak rises to 16

By Kevin Martinez, 25 September 2017

City officials knew that a public health crisis was brewing years before the current outbreak but rejected preventive measures as too costly.

FDA recommends approval of new leukemia treatment

By Benjamin Mateus, 23 September 2017

This is the first time that white blood cells have been successfully engineered to fight off a cancer.

Study highlights health epidemic: More than one in four US adults is obese

By Kayla Costa, 6 September 2017

Adult obesity rates for 2016 hit over 30 percent in 25 US states, and, in five states, topped 35 percent, the highest levels in the world.

Inherited genetic disorder corrected in human embryos

By Benjamin Mateus, 2 September 2017

New research in the study of the human genome has provided a new way to reduce or potentially eliminate inherited genetic disorders by correcting harmful genetic mutations while the subject is still an embryo.

Serious outbreaks of syphilis and hepatitis underscore social crisis in America

By Genevieve Leigh, 30 August 2017

Among drug users and the homeless in the US, diseases such as syphilis and hepatitis are making a dangerous comeback.

Medicaid sees big price hikes for decades-old drugs

By Brad Dixon, 28 August 2017

Medicaid spending on old and commonly used drugs increased by billions of dollars in 2016 compared to the previous year.

Indiana Medicaid plan under Pence seen as model for attack on health care

By Matthew Taylor, 5 August 2017

In 2015 the state of Indiana introduced a Medicaid expansion plan which converts the entitlement program into a fee-based insurance program.

Rampant dengue epidemic in Sri Lanka

By Pani Wijesiriwardena, 25 July 2017

Public health service cuts have resulted in poor sanitation and preventive measures, creating breeding grounds for dengue fever and other diseases.

US: Republican governors call for dramatic changes to Medicaid

By Kate Randall, 27 February 2017

While agreeing in principle with drastic cuts to Medicaid, the governors want input on how to impose them under any Obamacare replacement legislation.

US deaths from cervical cancer higher than previously thought

By Gary Joad, 31 January 2017

Some 12,990 cases of cervical cancer were diagnosed last year and 4,120 women died of the disease.

Trump taps anti-vaccine activist to chair vaccine safety panel

By Brad Dixon, 13 January 2017

Robert F. Kennedy has for the past decade promoted the debunked claim that vaccinations are linked to autism, which was also supported by Trump during his campaign.

Former officials at US fentanyl maker charged with bribing doctors

By Brad Dixon, 24 December 2016

Federal agents arrested six former employees of Insys Therapeutics for allegedly bribing doctors to prescribe the company’s highly addictive fentanyl product, Subsys.

$50 million more cut from West Virginia public employees health care

By Naomi Spencer, 13 December 2016

It is the latest in a series of devastating attacks on benefits for one of the lowest-paid public sector workforces in the country.

The Zika pandemic and Washington’s indifference

By Gary Joad, 6 December 2016

According to the Centers for Disease Control, as of late November, 182 people in Florida have been infected with Zika by local mosquitos, and in Massachusetts there are 101 cases of travel-associated Zika.

Surgeon general’s report: One in seven Americans face substance addiction

By Kate Randall, 19 November 2016

One in seven people in the US will become addicted to drugs or alcohol in their lifetimes, but only 10 percent of them will ever receive any treatment.

Obamacare: The reality hits home

By Andre Damon, 27 October 2016

On Monday, the US Department of Health and Human Services announced that premiums for health insurance plans sold under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will increase on average by 25 percent in 2017, raising health care costs of millions of working people by thousands of dollars.

Two weeks before the US election

Government announces huge Obamacare premium rises for 2017

By Kate Randall, 26 October 2016

The premium increases are part of a sea change in the US health care system, in which corporations and the government are burdening working families with rising health care costs.

Zika virus spreads in Puerto Rico and Florida

By Julio Patron and David Brown, 12 September 2016

The spread of Zika in Puerto Rico and the mainland United States is driven by poverty and will impact the area for years to come.

EpiPen price gouging: Capitalism and the US health care crisis

By Kate Randall, 31 August 2016

The EpiPen scandal has become a focal point of anger over the subordination of health care to huge corporations driven by an insatiable quest for profit.

EpiPen maker Mylan’s other drug price hikes

By Brad Dixon, 26 August 2016

Drugmaker Mylan, which increased the price of the EpiPen by over 450 percent, has raised the prices of other drugs by similar amounts.

Pfizer gobbles up cancer drug maker in $14 billion deal

By Brad Dixon, 25 August 2016

Pfizer will acquire Medivation’s cancer drug Xtandi, which is priced at $129,000 for a year’s treatment.

Mosquito-borne Zika virus spreads to Miami Beach, Florida

By Matthew MacEgan, 22 August 2016

The CDC has issued a travel advisory, warning pregnant women not to visit the area.

Mosquitoes infect pregnant Florida woman with Zika

By Matthew MacEgan, 12 August 2016

Eight more people in Florida, including a pregnant woman, have contracted the Zika virus directly from mosquitoes.

Purdue Pharma and the opioid epidemic

By Brad Dixon, 6 August 2016

Purdue Pharma’s marketing of the painkiller OxyContin has made the company billions, while contributing to the opioid epidemic in the United States.

Youth deaths highlight growth of UK private mental health services

By Dennis Moore, 22 July 2016

Nine young people have died since 2009 while being treated in private mental health units across the UK.

Obamacare insurance rates set to spike in California in 2017

By Toby Reese, 21 July 2016

Similar leaps in premiums are expected throughout the nation.

US Congress rejects funding to combat the Zika virus

By David Brown, 1 July 2016

The Zika virus is currently sweeping through Puerto Rico with the potential to spread to the US mainland.

Minnesota nurses demonstrate against health care cuts

By Anthony Bertolt and Matt Rigel, 23 May 2016

Allina Health has demanded nurses give up their current union health care plans and replace them with the company’s more expensive program.

Zika virus threatens 2016 Olympics

By David Brown and Julio Patron, 16 May 2016

Plans to hold the Olympics in the middle of Brazil’s Zika epidemic threaten to greatly increase the global reach of the virus.

Zika, social inequality and capitalism

By Bill Van Auken, 15 April 2016

The criminal indifference of the US Congress to the spread of the Zika virus stands as an indictment of a social system that subordinates the vital needs of humanity to the accumulation of wealth by a tiny oligarchy.

Significant price hikes for insulin and top selling US drugs

By Brad Dixon, 14 April 2016

The activities of Turing Pharmaceuticals and Valeant Pharmaceuticals are merely the most extreme examples of what is a common practice in the pharmaceutical industry.

US drug prices doubled since 2011

By Brad Dixon, 18 March 2016

Since 2008, the prices of brand-name prescription drugs have increased by a whopping 164 percent.

Health experts warn that Zika virus will infect millions worldwide

By Kevin Martinez, 19 February 2016

The mosquito-borne virus is spreading and affecting entire countries and their societies, impacting an already severe economic situation.

US Congress holds hearing on drug prices

By Brad Dixon, 8 February 2016

While there was plenty of political grandstanding by legislators, the primary concern was to protect the profits of the pharmaceutical industry by reining in the most egregious offenders.

US Congressional memos highlight price-gouging strategies of drug companies

By Brad Dixon, 5 February 2016

The practice of hiking prices to enrich shareholders and then obfuscating the issue through PR is endemic to the pharmaceutical industry as a whole.

WHO declares Zika virus a “public health emergency”

By David Brown, 4 February 2016

The WHO held a meeting to assess the “appropriate level of international concern” and to avoid a repeat of the Ebola outbreak, when the WHO was criticized for its slow response.

Survey: One in four US adults burdened by medical debt

By Kate Randall, 8 January 2016

Medical bills are straining family budgets to the breaking point, forcing significant numbers of people to go without basic household necessities or to forgo treatment.

FDA capitulates to pharmaceutical company on drug claims

By Brad Dixon, 28 December 2015

The move marks the latest episode of the drug industry’s attempts to roll back restrictions on “off-label” marketing practices based on “free speech” claims.

Martin Shkreli arrested for securities fraud

By Tom Hall, 18 December 2015

The 32-year-old CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals became infamous this year for price-gouging lifesaving medication.

US Senate holds hearing on rising generic drug prices

By Brad Dixon, 11 December 2015

The price hikes of a number of generic drugs have limited patient access, according to expert testimony at a US Senate hearing.