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Health Highlights: Dec. 16, 2016

Related Health News

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

HealthCare.gov Coverage Sign-Up Deadline Extended

The deadline for Americans to sign up for HealthCare.gov health insurance that would take effect Jan. 1 has been extended to 11:59 p.m. Pacific Time on Monday, Dec. 19.

The extension from the previous deadline on Thursday was due to strong interest, according to Kevin Counihan, CEO of the federal health insurance markets, the Associated Press reported.

The Obama administration wants to sign up 13.8 million people for 2017, slightly more than this year. Currently, enrollment is similar to last year, but there are fewer new clients, the news service reported.

Open enrollment ends Jan. 31.

President-elect Donald Trump and the Republican-controlled Congress have pledged to repeal and replace the 2010 health care law, often referred to as Obamacare.

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Baseball Hall of Famer Rod Carew Undergoing Heart and Kidney Transplant

Baseball legend Rod Carew is undergoing a heart and kidney transplant, according to an American Heart Association News report.

The 71-year-old Hall of Famer's surgery began around midnight Thursday and is expected to take up to 18 hours, the Associated Press reported.

Carew had a heart attack in September 2015 while undergoing a procedure to open clogged arteries and a machine has kept him alive since then.

Disconnecting Carew from the machine is the first part of the surgery. He will then receive a new heart. The kidney transplant will increase the likelihood of a strong recovery, according to doctors.

Carew played for the Twins and California Angels between 1967 and 1985. He was a seven-time American League batting champion and first-ballot selection to the Hall of Fame, the AP reported.

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Generic EpiPen Available Soon

A half-price generic version of Mylan's EpiPen will soon be available from the company.

Mylan was heavily criticized after the price of an EpiPen two-pack rose more than 500 percent since 2007 and now costs $608. The two-pack generic version of the life-saving injections for severe allergic reactions will cost $300, the Associated Press reported.

The generic version will start reaching retail pharmacies next week.

Earlier this year, a Congressional panel put Mylan CEO Heather Bresch on the hot seat about the EpiPen's sharp price increase, the AP reported.

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States Sue Generic Drug Makers Over Price Fixing

Twenty states are suing six generic drugmakers over alleged price fixing.

The lawsuit filed Thursday accuses the drugmakers of artificially inflating and manipulating prices to lessen competition for an antibiotic and a diabetes pill, CBS News/Associated Press reported.

The companies named in the lawsuit are Heritage Pharmaceuticals, Aurobindo Pharma USA, Citron Pharma, Mayne Pharma (USA), Mylan Pharmaceuticals and Teva Pharmaceuticals.

The investigation was launched more than two years ago by the office of Connecticut Attorney General George Jepsen.

"While the principal architect of the conspiracies addressed in this lawsuit was Heritage Pharmaceuticals, we have evidence of widespread participation in illegal conspiracies across the generic drug industry," he said in a statement, CBS/AP reported.

"Ultimately, it was consumers -- and, indeed, our health care system as a whole -- who paid for these actions through artificially high prices for generic drugs," he added.

On Wednesday, federal officials charged two former Heritage executives with fixing prices. Heritage says it fired those executives in August and is fully cooperating with the Department of Justice, CBS/AP reported.

The other states involved in the lawsuit are Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Washington.

This is a story from HealthDay, a service of ScoutNews, LLC.