Health Highlights: Sept. 6, 2018
Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:
Actor Burt Reynolds Dies at 82
Burt Reynolds, the burly, often self-mocking Hollywood star of the 1970s and 1980s, has died at 82.
According to The New York Times, the death was announced by Reynolds' agent, Todd Eisner, but no details were given.
Reynolds' performances were often wry, masculine and playful, and while he was never a critic's favorite, his star blazed bright throughout the late 1970s and early '80s. His career spanned four decades, with hits such as "Smokey and the Bandit," "The Cannonball Run," "Deliverance" and "The Longest Yard," cementing his status as fan favorite.
But many of his movies were box-office hits, not critical successes. He told the Times in 1978 that "I think I'm the only movie star who's a movie star in spite of his pictures, not because of them; I've had some real turkeys."
Born in Lansing, Mich., in 1936, Reynolds grew up in Florida where his father was a police chief. Football became a passion, and he played for Florida State University until a 1955 car crash sidelined a sports career.
Reynolds went on to study acting and moved to New York City, where he found an agent with the help of friend Joanne Woodward. In the 1950s and '60s he was primarily a television actor, and it was his frequent, self-effacing appearances on the Johnny Carson Show and other talk shows that garnered him new fame. His much-lauded performance in 1972's "Deliverance" launched his highly successful movie career.
That career took a hit in 1984 after an on-set accident shattered Reynolds' jaw, and left him in such pain that he became addicted to the muscle relaxant Halcion. He beat that addiction, the Times said, but a second battle with painkillers followed a bout with back pain.
In the 1990s, Reynolds continued to work in TV, in the series "Evening Shade" and in the Paul Thomas Anderson film "Boogie Nights."
However, financial and health issues plagued him in recent years, and Reynolds underwent quintuple bypass heart surgery in 2010.
In an interview in 2015, Reynolds said he wished he'd garnered more respect as an actor. Still, "I may not be the best actor in the world," he concluded, "but I'm the best Burt Reynolds in the world."
Gwyneth Paltrow's Goop Reaches Settlement in False Ad Lawsuit
A $145,000 settlement will be paid by actress Gwyneth Paltrow's company, Goop, in a lawsuit over unfounded claims that some of its products improve women's sexual and emotional health.
The lawsuit was filed by prosecutors from 10 California counties. They said Goop did not have scientific proof for health claims made for three products sold online: jade and quartz vaginal eggs and a mix of essential oils, CBS News reported.
The vaginal eggs were marketed as a way to "balance hormones, regulate menstrual cycles... and increase bladder control," while the mix of essential oils was advertised as a way to "help prevent depression."
"People have been selling snake oil for a long time. This is just another type of snake oil," said Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas, CBS News reported.
"There's a group of people who have problems like that and they might be vulnerable. A lot of people might do the things that you suggest and so you can do a lot of harm by falsely advertising that something is a medical cure," Rackauckas said.
As part of the settlement, Goop will offer refunds to customers who request them, CBS News reported.
The three items are still on Goop's website but the descriptions have been changed.
"Health and wellness is a very hot industry and part and parcel with that, we're seeing a significant rise in misleading and deceptive marking claims," Bonnie Patten, executive director of Truth in Advertising, told CBS News.
"Any time a consumer sees a product that's being marketed as a treatment or cure all they need to be wary of that and they should definitely talk to a health care provider before purchasing it," Patten said.
OxyContin Maker Gives $3.4 Million to Help Develop Cheaper Opioid Overdose Antidote
A $3.4 million grant to help a nonprofit company develop a less expensive opioid overdose antidote was announced by Purdue Pharma, which makes the opioid painkiller OxyContin.
Purdue is among a number of prescription opioid makers blamed for causing the United States' opioid addiction and overdose crisis, the Associated Press reported.
The grant is being given to Pittsburgh-based Harm Reduction Therapeutics, which is trying to develop a low-cost nasal spray with the opioid overdose antidote naloxone.
Purdue and other drug companies are being sued by local governments that claim the companies used deceptive marketing that encouraged doctors to overprescribe opioids, the AP reported.
As of last week, opioid makers faced more than 1,000 lawsuits being overseen by a federal judge.
Blood Test Company Theranos Shutting Down
A company that once claimed it had developed a breakthrough blood test is shutting down.
The Silicon Valley startup Theranos faces allegations of fraud and is preparing to close operations, The New York Times reported.
The company promised to make blood tests much easier and less expensive with a single finger prick blood test that could detect a wide range of diseases. But as time went on, questions were raised about those claims.
"We are now out of time," David Taylor, the company's chief executive and general counsel, told investors in an email, The Times reported.
Hospital Groups, Healthcare Foundations Form Generic Drug Company
Three U.S. healthcare foundations and seven hospitals groups have formed a generic drug company to combat high prices and chronic shortages of medicines.
The company, Civica Rx, will start with 14 widely used hospital drugs, including generic pills, patches and injectable drugs for treating infections, pain and heart conditions, board chairman Dan Liljenquist said, the Associated Press reported.
"The mission of Civica is to make sure these drugs remain in the public domain, that they're available and affordable to everyone," he said.
The Salt Lake City area-based company will make some of the medicines itself and hire companies to produce others, Liljenquist said. It plans to have its first medicines on the market by mid- to late 2019, the AP reported.
Along with creating a stable supply of medicines for its 500 hospitals, Civica seeks to cut drug prices by about 20 percent. The drugs will also be available to nonmember hospitals, but at slightly higher prices, Liljenquist said.
Drug shortages have been common in the U.S. for more than a decade, particularly for generic drugs, the AP reported.
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