December 2013 Briefing - Pathology

Here are what the editors at HealthDay consider to be the most important developments in Pathology for December 2013. This roundup includes the latest research news from journal articles, as well as the FDA approvals and regulatory changes that are the most likely to affect clinical practice.

Troubled Launch of ACA Tops Health News for 2013

TUESDAY, Dec. 31, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- As 2013 nears to a close, the year's top health news story -- the fumbled debut of the Affordable Care Act continues to grab headlines. President Barack Obama, in November, said he was "sorry" to hear that some Americans were being dropped from their health plans due to the advent of reforms -- even though he had repeatedly promised that this would not happen.

CDC: More Than One in 10 Kids Diagnosed With ADHD
FDA Urges Tighter Controls on Certain Prescription Painkillers
CDC: Evocative Campaign Motivates Smokers to Quit
Lower Microbial Diversity for Infants Who Develop Colic
Low Gut Bacterial Richness Linked to Obesity
Donor Fecal Infusion Effective for C. difficile Infection
Full Article - 2013 Top Health News

Two SNPs Predict Lithium Response in Bipolar I Disorder

MONDAY, Dec. 30, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- For patients with bipolar I disorder, two single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in glutamate decarboxylase-like protein 1 (GADL1) predict response to lithium, according to a study published online Dec. 25 in the New England Journal of Medicine.

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Extra Steps Urged for Regulating Compounding Pharmacies

MONDAY, Dec. 30, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- Additional steps are needed for regulating compounding pharmacies, according to a perspective piece published online Dec. 25 in the New England Journal of Medicine.

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USPSTF Recommends Lung CA Screening for High-Risk Adults

MONDAY, Dec. 30, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommends that high-risk asymptomatic adults aged 55 to 80 years should undergo low-dose computed tomography (CT) screening for lung cancer. This recommendation statement is based on the results of a modeling study published online Dec. 31 in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

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Mortality Up in Postmenopausal Women With Anti-CCP+ RA

MONDAY, Dec. 30, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- Mortality rates are higher in postmenopausal women with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) who have anti-cyclic citrullinated peptide (anti-CCP) antibodies, according to research published online Dec. 23 in Arthritis & Rheumatism.

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Uncertainty Noted in Seemingly Stable Medical Liability Climate

MONDAY, Dec. 30, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- Although the medical liability climate seems stable, the impact of health care reform on the market is uncertain, according to an article based on two reports published by the American Medical Association (AMA).

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Surge in Federal Health Insurance Exchange Enrollments

MONDAY, Dec. 30, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- More than 1.1 million people enrolled in a qualified health plan through the federally operated marketplace, or exchange, from Oct. 1 through Dec. 24, government officials said Sunday. More than 975,000 of those enrollments came in December, Marilyn Tavenner, administrator for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, said in a blog post.

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AMA IDs Five Issues Relating to Progress in SGR Repeal

FRIDAY, Dec. 27, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- The implications of progress toward repeal of the Medicare sustained growth rate (SGR) formula are discussed in a report published by the American Medical Association (AMA).

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ACA Success Hinges on Young Adult Enrollment

THURSDAY, Dec. 26, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- Enrollment of young adults is a crucial component of the viability of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), according to a health policy brief published Dec. 16 in Health Affairs.

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Impact of Planned Medicaid Expansion Discussed

THURSDAY, Dec. 26, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- The planned expansion of Medicaid will offer benefits to those in participating states, according to an article published online Dec. 24 in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

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Testosterone May Undermine Flu Vaccine Effectiveness for Men

THURSDAY, Dec. 26, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- Differences in expression of genes involved in lipid metabolism regulated by testosterone may explain why men have less robust immune responses than women, according to a study published online Dec. 23 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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HIV Life Expectancy Similar to General Population

THURSDAY, Dec. 26, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- Life expectancy among HIV-positive adults in the United States and Canada treated with combination antiretroviral therapy (ART) has greatly improved since 2000, with 20-year-olds now expected to live into their 70s, according to a study published online Dec. 18 in PLOS ONE.

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Toxic Employees Are Damaging to Medical Practices

THURSDAY, Dec. 26, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- Toxic behavior can harm medical practices and should not be tolerated, according to an article published Dec. 10 in Medical Economics.

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HPV 6, 11, 42/Combo Detection Doesn't ID CIN 2+, 3+ Risk

THURSDAY, Dec. 26, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- Detection of human papillomavirus (HPV) 6, 11, 42 or combination infections does not identify increased three-year risk of cervical precancer, according to a study published in the January issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

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USPSTF Supports Counseling, BRCA Tests for At-Risk Women

MONDAY, Dec. 23, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommends that women who are identified as being at risk for BRCA mutations be offered counseling and genetic testing, according to a final recommendation statement published online Dec. 24 in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

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Public Tends to Follow Celebrities Even on Medical Issues

MONDAY, Dec. 23, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- Celebrities have credibility as sources of medical advice, even if they are ill-informed or are spreading potentially harmful information, according to research published online Dec. 17 in BMJ.

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New Rule May Exempt Many From Health Plan Penalty

FRIDAY, Dec. 20, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- Consumers whose individual health insurance policies have been cancelled for failing to meet the minimum requirements of the Affordable Care Act may now apply for a "hardship exemption," Obama administration officials announced late Thursday.

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High Patient Satisfaction With Patient-Centered Medical Homes

FRIDAY, Dec. 20, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- A significant majority of patients report experiencing a high quality of care at federally-supported health centers, according to a study published in the November/December issue of the Annals of Family Medicine.

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Physicians Must Be Proactive in Risk Management

THURSDAY, Dec. 19, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- Risk is inherent in the practice of medicine, but physicians can take steps to prevent patient injury and avoid lawsuits, according to an article published Dec. 10 in Medical Economics.

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Gene Polymorphism Linked to Cardiac Morbidity, Mortality

THURSDAY, Dec. 19, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- The functional nonsynonymous single nucleotide polymorphism (rs6318) of the 5HTR2C gene is associated with increased risk of cardiovascular disease mortality and morbidity, according to a study published online Dec. 18 in PLOS ONE.

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Biomarker Identified in Systemic Sclerosis Predicts Progression

THURSDAY, Dec. 19, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- Patients with systemic sclerosis have elevated levels of CXCL4, which predicts disease risk and progression, according to a study published online Dec. 18 in the New England Journal of Medicine.

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Biomarkers Linked to Intermittent Explosive Disorder

THURSDAY, Dec. 19, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- Two plasma inflammatory markers are present at higher levels in people with intermittent explosive disorder compared with people with non-aggressive disorders, according to a study published online Dec. 18 in JAMA Psychiatry.

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Fracking Chemicals May Affect Hormone Function

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 18, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- The majority of water samples collected from sites in a natural gas drilling-dense region of Colorado have higher levels of estrogenic, anti-estrogenic, or anti-androgenic activities than control sites with limited nearby drilling operations, according to a study published online Dec. 16 in Endocrinology.

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Few Residency Programs Teach Cost-Conscious Medicine

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 18, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- Few residency programs have a formal cost-conscious care curriculum, according to a research letter published online Dec. 16 in JAMA Internal Medicine.

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CDC Highlights Achievements of 2013, Goals for 2014

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 18, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- The top five gains made in improving health security at home and around the world in 2013, and the top five areas for improvement in 2014 have been highlighted in an end-of-year report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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GlaxoSmithKline to End Payments to Prescribing Doctors

TUESDAY, Dec. 17, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) says it will stop paying doctors to market its drugs at conferences and will no longer reward sales agents whose physician customers write the most prescriptions. Monday's announcement is apparently a first for a major drug company. But other companies may be considering similar moves, The New York Times reported.

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Funding for Medical Communication Firms Analyzed

TUESDAY, Dec. 17, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- Medical communication companies (MCCs), responsible for medical education programs, may receive substantial financial support from pharmaceutical and medical device companies, according to research published in the Dec. 18 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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Many Physicians Will Stop Practicing Due to ACA

TUESDAY, Dec. 17, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- About half of physicians say that they plan to practice medicine for a shorter time or leave as soon as feasibly possible due to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), according to an article published Nov. 29 in Medical Economics.

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Gene Expression Changes Seen After Mindfulness Meditation

TUESDAY, Dec. 17, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- Proficient meditators experience changes in specific gene expression after intensive mindfulness meditation, according to a study published in the February issue of Psychoneuroendocrinology.

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FDA Questions Effectiveness, Safety of Antibacterial Soap

TUESDAY, Dec. 17, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has issued a proposed rule requiring antibacterial soap manufacturers to demonstrate that their products are both effective at preventing illness and safe for long-term daily use.

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Physician Access Challenges Up for Those With Public Insurance

TUESDAY, Dec. 17, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- Adverse experiences with physician availability are more likely among those with public insurance, and almost 15 percent of people in the United States were uninsured in the first half of 2013, according to two December data briefs issued by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS).

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Report - Martinez and Cohen

Bills for SGR Repeal Pass Senate, House Committees

MONDAY, Dec. 16, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- The U.S. House Ways and Means Committee and the U.S. Senate Finance Committee have passed their versions of the bill to repeal Medicare's failed sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula, according to a report from the American Medical Association (AMA).

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Comorbidity Strongly Influences Survival in Cancer Patients

MONDAY, Dec. 16, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- Death rates from cancer continue to decline in the United States, but the presence of comorbidity can be an important influence on overall survival, according to a report published online Dec. 16 in Cancer.

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Urine-Based Assay Diagnoses Chlamydia in 20 Minutes

MONDAY, Dec. 16, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- A rapid and sensitive assay requiring no special equipment can detect Chlamydia trachomatis directly from urine samples with high accuracy, according to a study published in the January issue of the Journal of Molecular Diagnostics.

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Medicare's Graduate Medical Education Spending Imbalanced

MONDAY, Dec. 16, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- There is an "imbalance" in how Medicare distributes its $10 billion a year for graduate medical education (GME), according to a study published in the November issue of Health Affairs.

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New Rule Tweaks Affordable Care Act Deadline

FRIDAY, Dec. 13, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- The Obama administration is taking steps to prevent consumers who buy health plans sold through state and federal exchanges from experiencing any gap in coverage this January. Under new rules, health insurers must accept payment up until Dec. 31 for coverage that begins the following day. Earlier guidance did not establish a payment deadline, allowing insurers to set their own dates. "And we're recommending that insurers extend this deadline further," U.S. Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said during a Thursday news conference to announce the changes.

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ASCO Report Highlights Progress Against Cancer in Last Year

FRIDAY, Dec. 13, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- Progress against cancer is described in the ninth annual report of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, published online Dec. 10 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

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Study Quantifies Male Dominance in Scientific Production

FRIDAY, Dec. 13, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- Men dominate scientific production worldwide, accounting for a higher percentage of authorships and greater impact, according to research published in the Dec. 12 issue of Nature.

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Injunction Stops Insurer From Dropping Physicians

THURSDAY, Dec. 12, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- United Healthcare has been given a last-minute temporary restraining order preventing it from removing thousands of physicians from its Medicare Advantage networks in Connecticut, according to an article published Dec. 6 in Medical Economics.

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FDA Issues Plan to Phase Out Antimicrobial Use in Animals

THURSDAY, Dec. 12, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- A plan is being implemented to help phase out the use of medically important antimicrobials in food animals for food production purposes, according to a report from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

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Physician Practices Often Do Not Plan for Future

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 11, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- Most physician practices do not treat their practices as businesses and plan for the future, but they should develop and follow a strategic plan, according to an article published Nov. 10 in Medical Economics.

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CDC: Health Insurance Among Young Increased After ACA

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 11, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- Since the Affordable Care Act extended dependent health coverage to young adults up to 26 years old, the percentage of this age group with private health insurance has increased and the percentage with gaps in insurance coverage has decreased, according to a December data brief published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS).

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Outpatient Docs Report More Burnout Than Inpatient Docs

TUESDAY, Dec. 10, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- Outpatient physicians report more emotional exhaustion than inpatient physicians, according to a review published in the November issue of the Journal of Hospital Medicine.

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Health Information Technology May Cut Demand for Physicians

MONDAY, Dec. 9, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- Health information technology (IT) may cut demand for physicians in the future, according to a review published in the November issue of Health Affairs.

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CMS Finalizes 2014 Physician Payment Rates, Policies

MONDAY, Dec. 9, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- The final payment rules for 2014 include a proposal to support care management outside the routine office interaction and policies to promote high quality care and efficiency, according to a report from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).

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Medical Students Find Mind-Body Regulation Training Helpful

FRIDAY, Dec. 6, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- A practical approach may be used to offer mind-body regulation training to medical students, according to research published in the Fall issue of the Annals of Behavioral Science and Medical Education.

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Issues Surround Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program

FRIDAY, Dec. 6, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- Concerns surround implementation of the Medicare Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program (HRRP), according to a policy brief published online Nov. 12 in Health Affairs.

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Serum 25(OH)D Marker of Ill Health, Not Causative Agent

FRIDAY, Dec. 6, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- Serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25[OH]D) seems to be a marker of ill health and not a causal factor, according to a review published online Dec. 6 in The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology.

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Elimination of Measles, Rubella Sustained in the United States

FRIDAY, Dec. 6, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- Sustained elimination of measles, rubella, and congenital rubella syndrome (CRS) has continued through 2011 in the United States, with most of the few cases seen linked to importation, according to a study published online Dec. 5 in JAMA Pediatrics.

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Final Rule Aims to Lower Costs, Simplify Outpatient Payments

FRIDAY, Dec. 6, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- The final hospital outpatient and ambulatory surgical center (ASC) payment rule will give hospitals and ASCs the ability to lower costs, according to a report from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).

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Genetic Risk Score Linked With Prior Gestational Diabetes

FRIDAY, Dec. 6, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- A diabetes-related genetic risk score is associated with a history of gestational diabetes, but it does not predict progression to type 2 diabetes in women with or without prior gestational diabetes, according to research published online Nov. 22 in Diabetes Care.

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Handoff Program Cuts Medical Errors, Adverse Events

THURSDAY, Dec. 5, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- Implementation of a multifaceted handoff program can reduce medical errors and preventable adverse events, according to a study published in the Dec. 4 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, a theme issue on medical education.

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TB Vaccine Beneficial After Clinically Isolated Syndromes

THURSDAY, Dec. 5, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- For individuals with clinically isolated syndromes (CIS), a first demyelinative episode that often precedes multiple sclerosis (MS), Bacille Calmette-Guérin (BCG) vaccination correlates with reduced development of gadolinium-enhancing lesions, according to a study published online Dec. 4 in Neurology.

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AMA's RUC Committee to Work on Improving Transparency

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 4, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- The 31-member Relative Value Scale Update Committee (RUC) of the American Medical Association will begin publishing minutes, dates and locations of meetings, and votes for individual current procedural codes, according to an article published Nov. 11 in Medical Economics.

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Investment Program Can Cut Global Health Disparities by 2035

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 4, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- Global health disparities could be reduced considerably by 2035 using an investment framework, according to a report published Dec. 3 in The Lancet.

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Varicella Vaccination Program Has Not Increased Herpes Zoster

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 4, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- Introduction of a universal varicella vaccine program for U.S. children in 1996 has not correlated with a significant increase in herpes zoster incidence in older U.S. adults, according to a study published in the Dec. 3 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.

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Recombinant HIV Strain Progresses to AIDS, Death Faster

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 4, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- Individuals infected with a recombinant strain of HIV have a higher risk of developing and dying of AIDS, and developing and dying from AIDS sooner than individuals infected with either parent strain, according to a study published in the Journal of Infectious Diseases.

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Modest Increases in Minority Faculty Seen at Med Schools

TUESDAY, Dec. 3, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- Underrepresented minority faculty made only modest gains in increasing their presence at U.S. medical schools from 2000 to 2010, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, a theme issue on medical education.

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Physician Texting While 'Doctoring' May Be Hazardous

TUESDAY, Dec. 3, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- Physician texting while doctoring could be hazardous, according to an ideas and opinions piece published in the Dec. 3 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.

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FDA Starts Regulating Compounding Pharmacies

TUESDAY, Dec. 3, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Monday began the process of regulating compounding pharmacies. Under the Drug Quality and Security Act, signed into law Nov. 27 by President Barack Obama, these pharmacies are being encouraged to register with the FDA. The agency will then classify them as outsourcing pharmacies, enabling them to sell bulk drugs to hospitals and other health care facilities.

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Volunteering Overseas Revives Physicians' Outlooks

MONDAY, Dec. 2, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- Physician volunteer programs can revive doctors' passion for medicine, according to an article published Nov. 11 in Medical Economics.

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Physician's Briefing