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Health Highlights: Feb. 25, 2020

Last Updated: February 25, 2020.

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

More Answers Needed About Relocation of Former Cruise Ship Passengers: Judge

Federal and California officials must provide more information to local officials about plans to relocate former cruise ship passengers who've tested positive for the new coronavirus to a facility in a Southern California community, a federal judge ruled Monday.

Officials in the city of Costa Mesa oppose the transfer to their community of coronavirus patients who were evacuated from a cruise ship in Japan, the Associated Press reported.

Mistakes can be made when acting in haste, said U.S District Judge Josephine Staton, who'd already temporarily blocked federal officials from transferring passengers to the site. She scheduled another hearing next Monday to review the issue.

Passengers who were evacuated from the cruise ship are under quarantine at Travis Air Force Base in Northern California. Those who tested positive for the new coronavirus were sent to area hospitals but can't be returned to Travis once they no longer need treatment, according to federal officials.

However, Costa Mesa officials said they weren't included in the planning process and want to know why a facility recently deemed too dilapidated for a homeless shelter is suddenly being considered to house those passengers, the AP reported.

"There's just something not right, and we have to question that, because the information that we're being given is not credible," Costa Mesa Mayor Katrina Foley told the media after Monday's hearing.

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Purdue Launches Ad Campaign for OxyContin Claims

An ad campaign to inform people harmed by the prescription opioid OxyContin as to where they can file claims against maker Purdue Pharma was launched Monday by the company, as part of bankruptcy proceedings.

Notifying those who may have claims against a company is standard in bankruptcies, and Purdue is seeking to resolve close to 3,000 lawsuits over its role in the U.S. opioid crisis, the Associated Press reported.

The $23.8 million ad campaign from the Stamford, Conn.-based company was developed with input from a committee of creditors and other interested parties, and approved by a bankruptcy judge.

Purdue has proposed a settlement that could eventually be worth more than $10 billion, including the value of drugs it's making and a contribution of at least $3 billion in cash from the Sackler family, which owns the company, the AP reported.

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New Cholesterol Drug Approved by FDA

A new type of cholesterol-lowering drug that works differently than statins has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Esperion Therapeutics Inc.'s Nexletol will provide an alternative for people who can't tolerate or don't fully respond to statins such as Lipitor and Crestor, the Associated Press reported.

Nexletol is a daily pill approved for people with a genetic predisposition for high cholesterol and for heart disease patients who need to further reduce their bad cholesterol. The drug is to be taken at the highest dose patients can tolerate and used in conjunction with a healthy diet, according to the FDA.

"This is a nice alternative" to statins, but statins will still be the first choice, Dr. Christie Ballantyne, Baylor College of Medicine's cardiology chief, told the AP. He consults for Esperion and helped test Nexletol.


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