FTC Says POM Wonderful Not So Great

FTC Says POM Wonderful Not So Great

The FTC wants to see some proof that the pomegranate ingredients in POM Wonderful’s products can actually treat heart disease, prostate cancer, and erectile dysfunction, which is what the company says in marketing and packaging materials. [More]

Marijuana Dispensaries In Montana Firebombed

Marijuana Dispensaries In Montana Firebombed

Some residents of Billings, Montana are pretty upset at the burgeoning medical marijuana industry there–CNN says the town of 100,000 has had about 90 applications for storefronts since the state legalized it in 2004, and that the businesses operate with little regulation. On consecutive mornings this past weekend, someone spraypainted “Not in our town” on the sides of two establishments, then threw rocks through the front doors followed by Molotov cocktails. And then they probably chilled out for a while. [More]

Watch Out For Balance Billing With Your Medical Expenses

Watch Out For Balance Billing With Your Medical Expenses

If you receive a medical bill dunning you for whatever your insurer didn’t pay, take a closer look before writing your check. The New York Times writes that although balance billing is a common practice, it’s not always legal, and you may be able to ignore it. [More]

Congratulations, You're Pregnant! …With The Wrong Baby

Congratulations, You're Pregnant! …With The Wrong Baby

Imagine waiting anxiously to hear whether your latest round of in vitro fertilization has resulted in a pregnancy after years of failures. Then you receive a call from your doctor: you are indeed pregnant, but the wrong embryos were transferred. Now you’re an unwilling surrogate for another family.

Cut Down On Medical Costs With These Tips

Cut Down On Medical Costs With These Tips

One way to cut down on all your medical costs is to go exclusively to Dr. Mario, an impersonator of whom is pictured.

Texas Family Sad That The Buyer Of All Their Possessions On eBay Will Pay But Not Take Their Stuff

Texas Family Sad That The Buyer Of All Their Possessions On eBay Will Pay But Not Take Their Stuff

Meet Gregg and Brittiny Peters. They’ve had a pretty terrible year. Two of their children were diagnosed with costly medical disorders, and as the bills began to mount, they decided to start over by selling all their worldly possessions on eBay. Enter Donnia and Keith Blair, who upon learning of the Peters’ plight, bid $20,000 and won the auction. Here’s the catch: the Blair’s are willing to pay, but they don’t want to take any of the Peters’ things. This has apparently infuriated the Peters.

Drug Makers Say Goodbye To Swag In 2009

Drug Makers Say Goodbye To Swag In 2009

Beginning tomorrow morning, drug companies will stop peppering doctors’ offices with branded pens, bandages, tongue depressors, stethoscopes, calipers, mugs, prescription pads, soap dispensers, and t-shirts.

Medicare Costs Going Up In 2009, So Be Ready To Compare Plans

Medicare Costs Going Up In 2009, So Be Ready To Compare Plans

If there’s one group of Americans who don’t carry their weight and need to pay more money to the healthcare industry, it’s those layabout senior citizens! That’s why their Medicare drug premiums are increasing by an average of 31% for the 10 most popular plans beginning in 2009. If you were with Humana, formerly the cheapest Medicare drug plan you could get (its premium was $9.51 in 2006), you can expect to pay $40.83 per month in 2009, an increase of 60% over this year’s rate. As you would expect, Humana is no longer the cheapest option—so it may be time to shop around for a new plan.

Discover The Wacky Side Of Food Poisoning

Discover The Wacky Side Of Food Poisoning

Did you know Jesse Jackson was hospitalized with food poisoning last week? Or that a recipe typo in a Swedish food magazine left four readers poisoned? These are two of the many interesting facts we just learned after a few minutes browsing the BarfBlog, a food safety blog with categories like “Celebrity Barf” and “listeria”.

Hospitals To Patients: "How About You Put That Liposuction On Your Credit Card?"

Hospitals To Patients: "How About You Put That Liposuction On Your Credit Card?"

A Consumer Reports study finds that medical professionals are pushing high-interest lines of credit and financing options on patients. Credit agencies are even partnering with hospitals to offer branded credit cards so patients can finance elective cosmetic surgeries like liposuction and hair removal.

Botched LASIK Eye Surgery Leads To Corneal Transplant

Botched LASIK Eye Surgery Leads To Corneal Transplant

The vast majority of the time, LASIK eye surgery works out just fine. Then there are stories like Patrick’s. He was a “perfect” candidate for LASIK eye surgery according to both the doctor who performed the procedure and other experts who reviewed his records later.

Recalled Heparin Contaminant Confirmed, And Congress Grills FDA On Inspections

Recalled Heparin Contaminant Confirmed, And Congress Grills FDA On Inspections

Researchers have identified the chemical in the contaminated blood thinner Heparin that killed 81 people in the U.S. and made patients here and in Europe sick:The researchers freeze-dried the heparin and used a combination of nuclear magnetic resonance imaging and liquid chromatography-mass…

UnitedHealth Unapproves Surgery From 2 Years Ago, Wants $7700 Back

UnitedHealth Unapproves Surgery From 2 Years Ago, Wants $7700 Back

United Health Care, not content with merely denying life saving cancer procedures or refusing to pay for basic (covered!) checkups, took things to a new level by retroactively un-approving procedures they paid for in 2005. They sent reader Suzanne a letter and a bill for $7700, claiming the pay-out was an “administrative error”, and she needed to pay up. Check out the details, inside.

Widow Sues Petsmart For Selling Killer Hamster

Widow Sues Petsmart For Selling Killer Hamster

In 2005, Petsmart sold a woman a hamster infected with lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus, or LCMV. The woman died of a stroke, and her liver was transplanted into Thomas Magee. He subsequently contracted LCMV and died from complications. His widow is now suing Petsmart. According to MSNBC, the lawsuit claims that “two other people who received organs from this woman died and one became seriously ill.”

Lawsuits Claim Insurers Are Choking Social Security With Unnecessary Disability Applications

Lawsuits Claim Insurers Are Choking Social Security With Unnecessary Disability Applications

Two whistleblower lawsuits have been filed recently against insurers, faulting them for requiring unnecessary and repeated disability applications with Social Security before they’ll pay out any benefits. One person says her disability insurer, the Unum Group—which was only paying her $50 a month for a temporary injury she was almost certain to recover from—called her 10 times to ask her about her Social Security disability application. The woman told the New York Times “she did not need or want money from Social Security, and did not think she was entitled to it. Her doctors had told her she would recover, and Social Security is limited to people whose disabilities are total and permanent.”

Medical Records Sold As Scrap Paper

Medical Records Sold As Scrap Paper

A fourth grade teacher in Salt Lake City, Utah, bought a box of scrap paper for $20 and discovered it was actually a box of medical records of 28 patients from Central Florida Regional Hospital. The hospital shipped the box via UPS to an audit company in Las Vegas last December. The hospital claims it had been tracking the box since February, but hadn’t told the patients. As for the teacher’s class, her next assignment for the students will be, “Apply for credit card offers using SSNs from the scrap paper box.”


A TSA screener contaminated a 14-year-old boy’s sterile backup feeding tube in the name of national security: “If I can’t open it, I can’t let you on the plane.” [WFTV via BoingBoing]

"Overtreated" Says Too Much Healthcare Is Bad For Us

"Overtreated" Says Too Much Healthcare Is Bad For Us

The general theme of the book “Overtreated,” the New York Times’ pick for best economics book of the year, is that we can cut a significant percentage of our health care costs—”between one fifth and one third,” says the author—and not have any impact on our level of health. As a nation, we tend to err on the side of too much treatment, exposing ourselves to unnecessary risks and racking up fees on procedures we could do without. And since doctors depend on a piecemeal approach to earning income, while at the same time dealing with significant financial risks from malpractice suits, they tend to push for more treatment, not less (they need to earn a living while also protecting themselves from accusations of doing too little).