You can be Fired for Using Medical Marijuana, Justices Rule

It turns out that you can be fired for legally using medical marijuana in Washington state. The Washington state Supreme Court ruled Thursday that TeleTech Customer Care, a Colorado-based firm that handles customer service for Sprint from its Bremerton facility, was allowed to fire a woman for failing its required drug test. The plaintiff, who sued under the pseudonym Jane Roe, was pulled out of her training class after a week and fired Oct.18, 2006, because she failed a pre-employment drug test. She had a valid medical-marijuana authorization from a doctor.

China Genetically Modifying Cows To Produce Human Breast Milk

Chinese scientists have genetically modified dairy cows to produce human breast milk, and hope to be selling it in supermarkets within three years. The milk produced by the transgenic cows is identical to the human variety, with the same immune-boosting and antibacterial qualities as breast milk, scientists at China’s Agricultural University in Beijing said. The transgenic herd of 300 was bred by inserting human genes into cloned cow embryos which were then implanted into surrogate cows.

30% of Employers to Stop Offering Health Insurance after 2014

Shubham Singhal, Jeris Stueland, and Drew Ungerman of McKinsey & Co., the consulting firm, have conducted a survey of over 1,300 employers across the country, and found that “30 percent of employers will definitely or probably stop offering [employer-sponsored insurance] in the years after 2014.” Among those with a “high awareness of reform,” more than 50 percent will do so. (H/T Ben Domenech.)

UK Scraps Pneumonia Vaccines Because They ‘Don’t Work’

Pneumonia jabs for the over-65s are to be scrapped by the Government because they do not save lives. Millions of pensioners have been vaccinated with a one-off jab that was supposed to give ten-year protection against an infection that causes pneumonia. The vaccine programme is estimated to have swallowed up £100million – with jabs costing around £20 each including GPs’ time – since it was launched in 2005.

18 U.S. Veterans Commit Suicide Daily; Largely Due to Psychiatric Drugs

“If mentally incapacitated troops are being drugged with dangerous, mind-altering drugs and deployed to battle against their will, how can we say that we have a volunteer army?” asked Alliance for Human Research Protection, the national network dedicated to advancing responsible and ethical medical research practices.

Former World Leaders say Decriminalizing Marijuana Worth Trying

A group of prominent former world leaders said Wednesday the so-called war on drugs has “failed” and that decriminalizing marijuana may help curb drug-related violence and social ills. “The global war on drugs has failed, with devastating consequences for individuals and societies around the world,” the members of the Global Commission on Drug Policy say in a report.

Fukushima’s Operators Lied, Hid Information

The operating company of the Fukushima-1 nuclear power plant, “Tokyo Electric Power”, will not be able to liquidate all the consequences of the catastrophe by the end of this year. This was revealed by the company’s high-ranking representative who preferred to remain unnamed. Earlier, the company announced that it planned to stop the largest leakages of radiation by July and to lower the temperature in the three reactors which suffered most down to 99º Celsius in another half a year. This would have allowed bringing them into the state of so-called “cold stop”.

78 Percent of Pakistani Children with Polio were Given Polio Vaccines

In the last year, as Pakistan has lost favor with the US and UNICEF, polio virus has paralyzed increasing numbers of Pakistani youth, casting doubt on the good intentions of those who fight polio. To make matters worse, most of the new cases have occurred in children already vaccinated. Is the US attempting to fight Pakistan by tainting inoculation doses? The medical data suggests that the vaccine has changed in its efficacy against the disease.

Bill Gates Foundation Funds Experimental Insect Repellent

The Bill Gates Foundation has funded yet another mosquito-related venture, with UC Riverside researchers developing an experimental set of new chemicals that aim to inhibit the carbon-dioxide receptors of mosquitoes and flies. The announcement comes after the Bill Gates Foundation has already admitted to funding the development of genetically modified self-sterilizing mosquitoes, and purchasing 500,000 shares of the biotech company Monsanto.

Underground & Untested Stem-Cell Treatments Causing Concern

Doctors at top U.S. medical centers are increasingly worried about a flourishing stem-cell underground where patients get expensive, untested and unregulated treatments that are promoted as stem-cell therapy. Critics say the stem-cell infusion can be expensive, costing $10,000 or more, and is not covered by insurance. The treatments have never been through clinical trials mandated by the Food and Drug Administration to test their safety and effectiveness, and as a result are not FDA approved.

Nuclear Crisis Reborn: Typhoon May Spread Fukushima Radiation

Downgraded from a tropical storm, former Typhoon Songda is en route to bring strong winds and torrential rainfall to the Fukushima area. The Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), the operator of the plant, has openly apologized for not being prepared to face the storm. Due to lack of progress in preparing the crippled plant for the onslaught of the typhoon, radioactive material may be carried into the air. Depending on the reach of the storm, this could mean some serious health consequences for surrounding areas.

Arizona Sues Justice Dept. Over Medical Marijuana

Arizona officials are taking the state’s own medical marijuana law to court. Attorney General Tom Horne late Friday sued the U.S. Justice Department and other defendants on behalf of the state and Gov. Jan Brewer. The suit asks a federal judge to rule on whether strict compliance with the Arizona law provides protection from federal prosecution or whether the Arizona measure is pre-empted by federal law.

Brazil Does Away with Rainforest Protection Law

Despite the hard work of environmentalists, scientists, and ten former environment ministers, Brazil’s formerly-protected rainforests will soon be at the whim of the nation’s powerful agricultural sector. The bill, now approved by the lower house of Congress, was originally intended to further protect Brazilian rainforests. Farm-based economic interests, however, were successful in re-shaping the bill to remove key restrictions that were implemented in 1965 to curb deforestation.

Vermont Moving Toward Single-Payer Health Care

Vermont became the first state to lay the groundwork for single-payer health care on Thursday when its governor signed an ambitious bill aimed at establishing universal insurance coverage for all residents. “This law recognizes an economic and fiscal imperative,” Democratic Governor Peter Shumlin said as he signed the bill into law at the State House. “We must control the growth in health care costs that are putting families at economic risk and making it harder for small employers to do business.”

Drug Abuse Costs Rival those of Chronic Diseases, Report Says

Illicit drug use cost the U.S. economy an estimated $193 billion in 2007 — a figure that comes close to the annual costs related to diabetes and other chronic diseases, according to a government study released Thursday by the National Drug Intelligence Center. The report looked at the most recent year in which data was available and examined expenses associated with crime, health and medical treatment, and lost productivity related to the use of illegal drugs and the abuse of pharmaceuticals.

Would Primary Care Improve from these Suggestions from Experts?

Many people either receive over-treatment, unnecessary treatment, or the completely wrong treatment due to hasty medical decision making and negligence. Antibiotics are given out like they are candy and screening tests are routinely being implemented into people’s lives for little reason. So what could be done on a health physicians part to reduce the number of unnecessary treatments?

Groups Sue FDA Over Use of Antibiotics in Animal Feed

A conglomerate of environmental and health-advocacy groups are suing the FDA over the use of two antibiotics used in animal feed to treat livestock. The group alleges that the FDA knew years ago that loading up livestock full of penicillin and tetracyclines (the 2 antibiotics in question) was causing bacteria to become resistant to drugs that humans rely upon to fight infections — thus leading to the onset of numerous ‘superbugs’ and mutated viruses.