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KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: 100 Days of Health Policy

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It’s 100 days into Joe Biden’s presidency and a surprisingly large number of health policies have been announced. But health is notably absent from the administration’s $1.8 trillion spending plan for American families, making it unclear how much more will get done this year. Meanwhile, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention loosens its mask-wearing recommendations for those who have been vaccinated, but the new rules are confusing. Joanne Kenen of Politico, Mary Ellen McIntire of CQ Roll Call and Sarah Karlin-Smith of the Pink Sheet join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss these issues and more. Plus, Rovner interviews KHN’s Julie Appleby, who reported the latest KHN-NPR “Bill of the Month” episode.

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Updates to safety labelling for benzodiazepines and benzodiazepine-like drugs

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OTTAWA – Benzodiazepines and benzodiazepine-like prescription drugs (commonly referred to as “Z-drugs)—commonly used to treat sleep and anxiety disorders, certain seizure disorders, and to help relax muscles or relieve muscle pain—can lead to problematic use and substance use disorder. To help mitigate these risks, Health Canada is asking manufacturers to update their safety warnings to include more prominent and consistent messaging for patients and healthcare professionals.

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Unauthorized products may pose serious health risks (September 16, 2020: Part 2)

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Health Canada is advising Canadians about unauthorized health products that may pose serious health risks. Thetable belowis updated when Health Canada finds unauthorized health products that are promoted for sexual enhancement, weight loss, as a workout aid, as “poppers,” or for lightening skin or treating skin conditions (such as eczema or psoriasis). These products are labelled to contain or have been tested and found to contain dangerous ingredients. Links to previous tables with affected products are also available below.

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Unauthorized products may pose serious health risks (September 16, 2020: Part 2)

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Health Canada is advising Canadians about unauthorized health products that may pose serious health risks. Thetable belowis updated when Health Canada finds unauthorized health products that are promoted for sexual enhancement, weight loss, as a workout aid, as “poppers,” or for lightening skin or treating skin conditions (such as eczema or psoriasis). These products are labelled to contain or have been tested and found to contain dangerous ingredients. Links to previous tables with affected products are also available below.

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KHN’s ‘What The Health?’: Democrats in Array (For Now)

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In a highly produced, made-for-TV political convention, Democrats papered over their differences on a variety of issues, including health care, to show a unified front to defeat President Donald Trump in November. Meanwhile, COVID-19 continues to complicate efforts to get students back to school, and a federal judge blocks the Trump administration’s efforts to eliminate anti-discrimination protections for transgender people. Margot Sanger-Katz of The New York Times, Paige Winfield Cunningham of The Washington Post and Shefali Luthra of The 19th join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss this and more. Plus, for extra credit, the panelists recommend their favorite health stories of the week they think you should read, too.

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Chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine can have serious side effects. These drugs should be used only under the supervision of a physician.

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Ottawa – Chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine may cause serious side effects, including serious heart rhythm problems. The risk of these side effects may increase at higher doses, or if the drugs are used in combination with other drugs, such as the antibiotic azithromycin. Patients should use these drugs only under the supervision of a physician. Health Canada is concerned that some people may be directly buying and using chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine to prevent or treat COVID-19 without a prescription.