Here are some of the latest health and medical news
developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:
1,500-Year-Old Skeleton is Oldest Known Case of Down
The oldest known case of Down syndrome has been identified in a
1,500-year-old skeleton found in eastern France.
The child's skeleton has telltale signs of Down syndrome,
including a broad skull with flattened base, according to the study
International Journal of Pathology,
The researchers also said the child did not appear to be
mistreated by the community.
"This Down syndrome child was not treated differently at death than others in the community," study lead author Maite Rivollat wrote, ABC Newsreported. "We interpret this as meaning that the child was maybe not stigmatized during life, the first time a Down syndrome individual has been so viewed in the context of the ancient community."
High Cost of Hepatitis C Drug Sovaldi Being Investigated by U.S.
An investigation into the pricing of the hepatitis C drug
Sovaldi has been launched by the U.S. Senate Finance Committee.
The drug -- made by Gilead Sciences Inc. -- costs about $1,000 a
pill, or about $84,000 for a patient on a standard, 12-week
treatment schedule, the
Wall Street Journalreported.
On Friday, the senate committee sent a letter to Gilead
announcing the investigation and requesting documents on how the
company decided on the price, which has been widely criticized.
"Although Sovaldi has the potential to help people with HCV, at $1,000 per pill, its pricing has raised serious concerns about the extent to which the market for this drug is operating efficiently and rationally," the letter stated. "Given the impact Sovaldi's cost will have on Medicare, Medicaid and other federal spending, we need a better understanding of how your company arrived at the price for this drug."
The letter noted that Sovaldi is offered at steep discounts in
some other countries. For example, it can be up to 99 percent
cheaper in Egypt than in the United States,
Gilead has received the letter and will cooperate with the
investigation, a company spokeswoman said. Previously, Gilead has
said Sovaldi's high price reflects its effectiveness at curing
hepatitis C infection.
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