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Health Highlights: April 7, 2017

Last Updated: April 07, 2017.

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

Hepatitis C Drugs Approved for Use in Children: FDA

Two hepatitis C drugs have been approved for use in children, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced Friday.

Gilead Sciences Inc.'s Sovaldi (sofosbuvir) and Harvoni (ledipasvir and sofosbuvir) were approved to treat hepatitis C virus (HCV) in children ages 12 to 17. The drugs were already approved to treat HCV in adults.

These are the first direct-acting antiviral treatments to be approved by the FDA for use in children and teens with HCV.

"These approvals will help change the landscape for HCV treatment by addressing an unmet need in children and adolescents," Dr. Edward Cox, director of the Office of Antimicrobial Products in the FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, said in an agency news release.


KFC Cutting Antibiotics From Chicken

By the end of 2018, KFC in the United States will use only chicken raised without antibiotics important to human medicine, the company announced.

The antibiotics-free policy includes bone-in chicken, chicken tenders and popcorn chicken.

KFC said it has been working with more than 2,000 farms across the U.S. to make the change.

Experts in public health have raised the alarm over the past decade regarding the overuse of antibiotics in poultry and livestock. Such overuse can lead to the emergence of dangerously antibiotic "superbug" germs that pose a dire threat to human health.

In a news release, the environmental advocacy group the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) applauded KFC's move.

"KFC's new policy will be a game-changer for the fast food industry and public health," said Lena Brook, food policy advocate at NRDC. "While federal antibiotics policy stagnates, the market is responding to consumer demand for better meat. This commitment from the nation's most iconic fast food chicken chain will have a major impact on the way the birds are raised in the U.S. and in the fight against the growing epidemic of drug-resistant infections."

KFC also said by the end of next year, all of its core products will be free of artificial colors and flavors.


Nearly 600,000 Asthma Inhalers Recalled

More than 590,000 albuterol inhalers are being recalled by GlaxoSmithKline because there could be problems with the delivery system.

The recall is for three lots of Ventolin HFA 200D inhalers with lot numbers 6ZP0003, 6ZP9944 and 6ZP9848. The inhalers were distributed to hospitals, pharmacies, retailers and wholesalers in the United States, CNN reported.

"There is possible risk that the affected inhalers could potentially not deliver the stated number of actuations," according to GSK spokesman Juan Carlos Molina. "We continue to investigate the issue in order to identify the root cause and implement appropriate corrective and preventative actions."

The recall is not directed at patients, but those with inhalers from the recalled lots can call GSK at 1-888-825-5249 to get more information. Patients whose inhalers do not relieve symptoms should seek immediate medical attention, CNN reported.

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