Health Highlights: Nov. 4, 2016

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

Suicide Now Kills More Middle School Students Than Traffic Accident

Middle school students in the United States are now just as or more likely to die from suicide as from traffic crashes, a federal government study says.

In 2014, there were 425 suicide deaths among children ages 10-14 nationwide, while 384 children in that age group died in traffic crashes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, The New York Times reported.

In 1999, the death rate for children ages 10-14 from traffic crashes was about 4.5 deaths per 100,000, quadruple the rate for suicide. By 2014, the death rate from traffic crashes had been cut in half, while the suicide rate had nearly doubled to 2.1 per 100,000, with most of the increase occurring since 2007.

In 2014, far more boys (275) committed suicide than girls (150), but the number of girls who kill themselves has tripled, compared with a rise of about a third for boys, The Times reported.

“It’s clear to me that the question of suicidal thoughts and behavior in this age group has certainly come up far more frequently in the last decade than it had in the previous decade,” Dr. Marsha Levy-Warren, a clinical psychologist in New York who works with adolescents, said.

“Cultural norms have changed tremendously from 20 years ago,” she told The Times.

A number of factors can contribute to suicide in youngsters, but social media is a significant one due its wide public reach.

“If something gets said that’s hurtful or humiliating, it’s not just the kid who said it who knows, it’s the entire school or class,” Levy-Warren told The Times. “In the past, if you made a misstep, it was a limited number of people who would know about it.”


Generic Drug Makers Being Investigated for Price Collusion

Generic drug makers are being investigated by the U.S. Justice Department for suspected price collusion.

The criminal investigation was launched about two years ago and now includes more than a dozen companies and about two dozen drugs, people familiar with the matter told Bloomberg News.

The antitrust probe is trying to determine if some executives agreed with one another to raise prices, and the first charges could be announced by the end of the year, the sources said.

The drugs under scrutiny inlcude a heart treatment and an antibiotic. Drug companies that have received subpoenas include: Mylan NV; Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd.; Actavis, which Teva bought from Allergan Plc in August; Lannett Co.; Impax Laboratories Inc.; Covis Pharma Holdings Sarl; Sun Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd.; Mayne Pharma Group Ltd.; Endo International Plc’s subsidiary Par Pharmaceutical Holdings; and Taro Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd., Bloomberg reported.

All of the companies, other than Covis, have said they are cooperating with the investigation.

Sharply rising drug prices in the U.S. have caused public outrage and attracted the attention of lawmakers. Most of the focus has been on branded drugs, but this investigation brings the generics industry into the mix, Bloomberg reported.