So close! (Timo Newton-Syms)

Oral Roberts University Students Now Required To Wear Fitbits All The Time For A Grade

You might associate Oral Roberts University with students who are very strong in their Christian faith, but the Oklahoma college also puts a priority on students’ physical fitness. That’s why they’re the first U.S. college known to require all students to wear fitness tracking devices and reach a minimum step goal every day. [More]

Cold Supplement Maker Looks For A Year-Round Business, Decides On Sex Supplement

Cold Supplement Maker Looks For A Year-Round Business, Decides On Sex Supplement

Like barbecues and weddings, colds have a season. When you’re in the business of selling zinc lozenges and over-the-counter medicine to help people deal with colds, what do you do when cold season is over? ProPhase Labs, the company that makes the terribly-named Cold-Eeze line of supplements and drugs, wants to get into the sex supplement business. [More]

Reminder: Do Not Run To The Doctor Demanding Antiobiotics If You Have A Cold

If you have or are getting over a cold, we hope that you feel better soon. However, our colleagues down the hall at Consumer Reports hope that you do not run to your doctor’s office and demand antibiotics unless test results show that your have strep throat, or you show symptoms of pneumonia. Antbiotics are life-saving when you need them, but taking them when you don’t can contribute to antibiotic resistance in the community. [Consumer Reports]

(Frontline)

7 Things You Need To Know From Frontline’s Investigation On Supplements & Safety

They look like drugs, they’re regulated by the Food and Drug Administration, but Frontline‘s new investigation found that supplements are very, very different. [More]

(PepOmint)

If you’re having trouble falling or staying asleep, you may first turn to melatonin, a synthetic version of the hormone that regulates our sleep/wake cycles. It might seem like a mild and natural alternative to sleeping pills, but there are potential problems. The hormone can interact with other medications and have side effects like next-day grogginess, and since it’s regulated as a supplement, its potency may vary. You also may need a much lower dose than what’s in the bottle: as little as .1 mg works for some people. [Consumer Reports]

(Fujoshi Bijou)

Health Care Providers Repeatedly Violate HIPAA, Nothing Happens

You’re probably familiar with HIPAA, or the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, a federal law that protects your health information from being shared with anyone who doesn’t need to see it. This includes things like mailing someone the wrong set of test results, shouting information in a pharmacy for everyone to hear, and of course mass breaches of paper or digital data. [More]

(Curtis Perry)

FDA Approves Addyi, Which Is Absolutely Not Viagra For Women

Late yesterday, the Food and Drug Administration approved the drug flibanserin, which will hit the market under the brand name Addyi. You’ll see a lot of headlines and smirking news anchors using the phrase “Viagra for women” when talking about the drug, but that’s only correct in one sense. This drug wouldn’t be for sale to patients at all if it weren’t for the success of Viagra as a drug marketed directly to consumers. [More]

(Adam Gerard)

Prescription Price Sticker Shock Is Now A Common Consumer Ailment

Maybe this has happened to you: you’re at the pharmacy, picking up a refill of a prescription that you or a family member have been taking for a long time. It’s a routine errand until you get sticker shock: the copay has suddenly shot up. You didn’t change insurance, it’s still the same year, and the drug is the same: how can a price change so dramatically so quickly? [More]

FDA Warns About Mixups Between Drugs With Similar Names

FDA Warns About Mixups Between Drugs With Similar Names

Here’s a scary thought: dangerous medication mixups could begin at your doctor’s office. The FDA put out a warning today that they’ve received reports of mixups between similarly-named drugs that do very different things. The FDA urges patients and caregivers to know what the drug they’re supposed to be taking looks like, and alert medical providers if the drug that they receive looks different. [More]

(Adam Gerard)

FDA Closer To Approving Twice-Rejected Female Libido Drug

Yesterday, a Food and Drug Administration advisory panel recommended that the agency approve a new drug, flibanserin, which would be marketed under the brand name Addyi. In headlines and in news reports, you see references to the drug as a “pink Viagra” or “Viagra for women.” Yet the drug works on the brain, not the genitals, and critics say that its side effects may not be worth its proven benefits. The FDA has already rejected the drug twice. [More]

The supplements pictured aren't part of this lawsuit that we know of. (HealthGauge)

Ad Watchdog: Dietary Supplement Claimed To Prevent Cancer

Government regulation of the nutritional supplement industry is not perfect, but the Food and Drug Administration does impose a very important rule on them: products sold as supplements rather than drugs can’t advertise themselves as able to diagnose, treat, prevent, or cure any diseases. Once they do that, they’re drugs. Yet one supplement’s marketing caught the attention of two industry self-regulation bodies before the FDA: a supplement called “Big C” that totally does not promise to prevent cancer. [More]

LabCorp Wants To Skip Doctors, Sell Blood Tests Direct To Consumers

LabCorp Wants To Skip Doctors, Sell Blood Tests Direct To Consumers

When your doctor wants to find out more about what’s going on inside your body, she orders lab tests, sending you down the street or down the hall to have someone extract your bodily fluids and perform tests on them. Laboratory Corp. of America, known on your medical bills as LabCorp, thinks that Americans want to order these tests themselves and pay for them with cash. Do they? [More]

CVS Yanks Tobacco Products From Its Shelves A Month Earlier Than Planned

(afagen)

Earlier this year, CVS Caremark announced it would stop selling cigarettes and other tobacco products in its drugstores across the country by October 1. It’s not October yet, but CVS has decided to pull those items early. As in, today. And it’s got another change in the pipeline, too — its new corporate name is CVS Health. [More]

Another Study Shows That Glucosamine Supplements Aren’t Very Helpful

Another Study Shows That Glucosamine Supplements Aren’t Very Helpful

If we can prevent or decrease the pain of arthritis with a relatively inexpensive supplement, why shouldn’t we? Americans spent an estimated $813 million on glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate supplements for ourselves and for our pets in 2012, despite the lack of evidence that it is at all helpful to prevent or alleviate arthritis. Now another study shows that the supplements don’t really help, and may actually do the opposite of what they’re supposed to. [More]

(Tom Raftery)

Get Your Health Insurance Company’s Attention: Use Twitter

Over at ProPublica, they recently learned what we at Consumerist have known since 2008: when you’re having customer service trouble, sometimes the best way to use alternate means to get the attention of someone who can help you. Propublica discovered that some consumers are using Twitter to navigate the intensely personal and deeply confusing world of health insurance. [More]

Why Is Express Scripts Making Me Buy A New Blood Glucose Meter?

Why Is Express Scripts Making Me Buy A New Blood Glucose Meter?

As diabetics, people with diabetic loved ones, and anyone who has seen a TV commercial starring Wilford Brimley all know, keeping track of one’s blood glucose levels is an important part of staying healthy with diabetes. But what happens when you suddenly can’t get the supplies that you need for the brand of meter that you’ve chosen because your health insurer will only cover one brand of meter? [More]

Letter From Anthem BlueCross BlueShield Presumes I Don’t Understand Affordable Care Act

Letter From Anthem BlueCross BlueShield Presumes I Don’t Understand Affordable Care Act

Kim received a solicitation in the mail from Anthem BlueCross BlueShield offering her the opportunity to apply for guaranteed health insurance coverage. This plan offers appealing benefits like no copay for routine screening tests or immunizations. Sounds great! Except it’s not. [More]

(afagen)

Doctors Plead: Quit Wasting Your Money On Vitamin Supplements Already

Every year, Americans spend $28 billion on potions that we imbue with magical powers. We mean, of course, vitamin pills and supplements. We take them by the handful even though study after study has showed us that for people who have a deficiency, vitamin pills don’t do very much good, and may harm our health in the long run. Yes, harm. [More]