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Health Highlights: Jan. 6, 2020


Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:

Democratic-Led States Ask Supreme Court For Fast Review of Obamacare Ruling

A coalition of 20 states led by Democrats has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to fast-track a review of a recent court ruling that the Affordable Care Act's requirement that Americans have health insurance is unconstitutional.

The coalition, led by California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, would likely get a hearing and a decision by this summer, before the November elections, the Associated Press reported.

While it would be unusual for the Supreme Court to agree to such a timetable, it would not be unprecedented, the AP reported.

"The lower courts' actions have created uncertainty about the future of the entire Affordable Care Act, and that uncertainty threatens adverse consequences for our nation's healthcare system, including for patients, doctors, insurers, and state and local governments," the states' filing read.

There was no immediate reaction from the Trump administration, the AP reported. President Donald Trump had hailed the latest ruling, calling it "a win for all Americans."

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Mystery Disease Strikes Dozens in China

Dozens of people in China have contracted a mysterious infectious disease.

At least 44 people in the mainland Chinese city of Wuhan have been infected with a viral pneumonia, and eight possible cases have been reported in Hong Kong, the Associated Press reported.

Wuhan is west of Shanghai and about 570 miles north of Hong Kong.

The outbreak began last month and has triggered comparisons to the 2002-2003 SARS epidemic that started in southern China and killed more than 700 people on the mainland, in Hong Kong and in other countries, the AP reported.

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Price Hikes for Hundreds of Medications

U.S. drug companies have started the new year by raising the prices of hundreds of medications.

Just a few days into 2020, the prices of 411 drugs increased an average of 5%, according to GoodRx. Of those drugs, 407 are brand-name products and four are generics, CBS News reported.

The largest increase was a more than 13% rise in the list price of Neos Therapeutics' Cotempla XR, a stimulant used to treat ADHD and narcolepsy.

Other commonly prescribed drugs with price increases include Eliquis (6%), often prescribed to prevent blood clots, and Humira (7.4%), used to treat inflammation in patients with autoimmune disease, CBS News reported.

More drugs are likely to see price hikes in the coming weeks, experts added.

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