Reuters Health News Summary

Following is a summary of current health news briefs.

Express Scripts accuses Ernst & Young of stealing trade secrets 2013-02-19T201235Z_1_BRE91I15N_RTROPTC_0_US-EXPRESS-SCRIPTS-LAW SUIT.XML () -

U.S. to operate 26 state health exchanges with little local help

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Obama administration said on Tuesday that it will operate federal online health insurance marketplaces in 26 of the 50 U.S. states with little or no input from local state officials. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced that a total of 24 states, including six with Republican governors, plus the District of Columbia, are on track to run their own marketplaces, known as healthcare exchanges, or to do so in partnership with the federal government.

China seeks extra testing of U.S. pork for feed additive

CHICAGO (Reuters) - China wants a third party to verify beginning March 1 that U.S. pork shipped to the country is free of a feed additive used to promote lean muscle growth, a U.S. Meat Export Federation spokesman told Reuters. The reasons for China's timing and motives for additional verification on the ractopamine additive were unclear, but stirred speculation ranging from a political agenda to protection of that country's pork industry.

Almost one-third of chemotherapy used "off-label"

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - About one-third of chemotherapies are used to fight cancers that drug regulators never approved them to treat, says a new study. Chemotherapies - drugs that kill rapidly dividing cells - are approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to fight specific cancers, but there's nothing stopping doctors from prescribing the drugs "off-label" to treat other types of tumors.

Alabama House passes bill tightening restrictions on abortion clinics

MOBILE, Alabama (Reuters) - The Alabama House of Representatives passed legislation on Tuesday that would tighten regulations for abortion clinics in a move critics say could force many in the state to close. The Republican-controlled House approved the bill in a 73-23 vote. The bill now moves to the Senate, which also has a Republican majority, for consideration.

Robot-assisted hysterectomies on the rise

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - The proportion of women having their uterus removed using robotic-assisted surgery increased from one in 200 procedures in 2007 to almost one in 10 in 2010, according to a new study. However, the tool didn't reduce complications linked to hysterectomy or otherwise improve women's outlook after surgery, researchers found. And it raised the cost of the procedure by almost one-third.

Star-gazing software helps fight breast cancer

LONDON (Reuters) - In an unlikely tie-up, astronomers and cancer researchers have joined forces to study breast tumors using image analysis software originally developed to explore the distant stars. The automated system offers a speedy way to test if tumors are aggressive and may mean pathologists one day no longer have to peer down a microscope to spot subtle differences in tissue samples.

Gilead, Teva reach settlement in Viread patent lawsuit

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Kentucky turnaround to drive Wellcare profit (Feb 13) 2013-02-19T201310Z_2_BRE91I14V_RTROPTC_0_US-WELLCARE-RESULTS.XM L () -

Briton dies after contracting new SARS-like virus

LONDON (Reuters) - A British man infected with a new virus from the same family as SARS has died, health officials said on Tuesday, bringing the worldwide death toll from the previously unknown disease to six. The virus, called novel coronavirus or NCoV, was unknown in humans until it emerged in the Middle East last year. There have been 12 confirmed cases worldwide - including in Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Britain - and half the patients have died.