Trending News Today: Suit Alleges UnitedHealth Group Overcharged Medicare

Top news of the day from across the health care landscape.

The 3 candidates who are in-line to become the next director of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria may jeopardize funding for the organization, according to The New York Times. The United States is the fund’s largest donor, and global health officials are worried that the candidates’ backgrounds could push the Trump administration away from the fund. The 3 candidates are former Prime Minister Helen Clark; Subhanu Saxena, former chief executive of Cipla; and Muhammad Ali Pate, former Nigerian health minister. In the past, the fund has struggled to raise money, with a goal of $10 billion per year from donors. However, the fund reportedly received just under $5 billion last year, the NY Times reported.

A potent synthetic narcotic linked to hundreds of deaths in the United States is causing authorities to push China to take action against the deadly opioid, reported The Wall Street Journal. The drug carfentanil has been connected to at least 700 fatalities in the United States since its emergence in Ohio in July 2016. According to NPR, carfentanil is so strong that is has been considered as a chemical weapon of warfare. Furthermore, police officers have been warned to handle it with extreme care. Although carfentanil is 10,000 times more potent than morphine, it was not listed as a controlled substance in China, where producers have been exporting it abroad, NPR reported. China has announced, however, that carfentanil will now be listed as a controlled substance, putting it in the same category as fentanyl. Last year, fentanyl was blamed as the cause of death of legendary musician Prince.

A lawsuit filed in 2011, and made public after a request by the Department of Justice, claims UnitedHealth Group Inc and its units and affiliates overcharged Medicare by hundreds of millions of dollars by claiming the federal health insurance program’s members nationwide were sicker than they actually were, according to Business Insider. UnitedHealth spokesman Matthew Burns said in a statement, “We reject these more than 5-year-old claims and will contest them vigorously.”