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Benzene in acne drugs; $70M in health care fraud; rat urine health problems – Morning Medical Update

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The top news stories in medicine today.

physician doctor team taking morning coffee break: © everythingpossible - stock.adobe.com

© everythingpossible - stock.adobe.com

More than skin deep

Physicians and regulators continue debating the best way to handle risks of benzene in benzoyl peroxide, the over-the-counter and prescription acne drug found in medicine cabinets across the country. Read about the latest developments and testing, along with history of research of the drug, in Dermatology Times, a sister publication of Medical Economics.

Brace yourself

A Mississippi man was charged for his alleged role in a durable medical equipment (DME) scheme worth more than $70 million, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. Joel Rufus French, 46, of Amory, Mississippi, is charged with using DME companies to bill for medically unnecessary orthotic braces, a network of kickbacks and bribes, and laundering the proceeds, according to the feds.

Rats causing health problems

The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene is making national news for an advisory warning people about leptosprirosis, a disease humans get from exposure to environments and materials contaminated with rat urine. The city had 24 diagnosed cases in 2023 and six so far as of April 10. City leaders say a key to controlling the problem is getting garbage in bins, not plastic bags. Here’s the city’s official advisory and a television news report on the problem.

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