Oct 23

U.S. FDA okays wider use of GSK ovarian cancer drug

FILE PHOTO: The GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) logo is seen on top of GSK Asia House in Singapore, March 21, 2018. REUTERS/Loriene Perera/File Photo (Reuters) – GlaxoSmithKline said on Wednesday U.S. regulators approved its ovarian cancer treatment Zejula for wider use in some advanced cancers, in a boost to the British drugmaker’s oncology portfolio as it competes with rival AstraZeneca. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval is for the drug’s use in advanced ovarian, fallopian tube, or primary peritoneal cancer patients who had undergone at least three prior chemotherapy regimens and whose disease had come back. Zejula was the lead compound of U.S. cancer specialist Tesaro, which GSK acquired for $5.1 billion last year. Zejula brought in sales of 57 million pounds ($73.59 million) in the second quarter. Reporting by Pushkala Aripaka and Manojna Maddipatla in Bengaluru Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters … Continue reading

Oct 23

U.S. FDA says carcinogen not found in alternatives of Zantac and its generics

FILE PHOTO: A bottle of Zantac heartburn drug is seen in this picture illustration taken October 1, 2019. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/Illustration/File Photo (Reuters) – The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said on Wednesday that alternatives to popular heartburn drug Zantac and its generic versions, known chemically as ranitidine, have not been found to contain the probable cancer-causing impurity that ranitidine has been linked to. (bit.ly/2oYJ1Vz) U.S. retailers Walmart Inc, CVS Health Corp Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc and Rite Aid Corp have all removed Zantac off their shelves after some drugs containing its key ingredient ranitidine were found to have traces of the impurity, N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA). Early tests of alternatives to over-the-counter ranitidine, such as Pepcid, Tagamet, Nexium, Prevacid and Prilosec show no NDMA, the agency said. The FDA said earlier this month it found unacceptable levels of NDMA in drugs containing … Continue reading

Oct 23

Amazon buys healthcare start-up Health Navigator

FILE PHOTO: The Amazon logo is seen at the Amazon fulfilment center in Bretigny-sur-Orge near Paris, France, October 22, 2019. REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol/File Photo (Reuters) – Amazon.com Inc said on Wednesday it bought healthcare start-up Health Navigator, its second purchase in the healthcare services industry. The deal comes after the company acquired online pharmacy PillPack last year, pitting itself against drugstore chains, drug distributors and pharmacy benefit managers. (reut.rs/31DSU8k) The company said the acquisition is a part of its new employee offering, Amazon Care, where employees of the e-commerce giant will be able to receive fast-paced access to healthcare facilities without having to make appointments. Health Navigator was founded in 2014 by David Thompson, who is also its chief executive officer, and provides preliminary and final diagnosis and treatments on its digital platform. The companies did not disclose the financial terms … Continue reading

Oct 23

J&J slashes third-quarter profit by $3 billion over proposed opioid deal

FILE PHOTO: The U.S. flag is seen over the company logo for Johnson & Johnson to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the company’s listing at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., September 17, 2019. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid (Reuters) – Johnson & Johnson (JNJ.N) on Wednesday lowered its previously reported third-quarter profit by $3 billion to account for a proposed opioid settlement payment. A framework settlement, announced on Monday, was hammered out by some drugmakers and distributors and attorneys general in North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Texas. The proposed deal will need broad support among all the state attorneys general and local governments that have sued the companies over the opioid crisis. J&J, which is facing thousands of lawsuits over a variety of products, lowered its reported profit to $1.8 billion, or 66 cents per share, from $4.8 … Continue reading

Oct 23

Johnson & Johnson says proposed opioid settlement to lower reported third-quarter profit by $3 billion

FILE PHOTO: The U.S. flag is seen over the company logo for Johnson & Johnson to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the company’s listing at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., September 17, 2019. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid (Reuters) – Johnson & Johnson (JNJ.N) on Wednesday lowered its previously reported profit for the third quarter to $1.8 billion from $4.8 billion to account for a proposed opioid settlement payment. The company lowered its earnings per share for the quarter to $0.66 from $1.81, and said there was no impact to its adjusted earnings numbers. A framework deal, announced on Monday, was hammered out by some companies and attorneys general in North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Texas, and will need broad support among the state attorneys general and local governments that sued several drugmakers and distributors over the opioid … Continue reading

Oct 23

New York, states reach $700 million settlement with Reckitt over opioid probes

(Reuters) – New York and five other states have reached a $700 million settlement deal with Reckitt Benckiser over allegations that the drug distributor improperly marketed a drug to treat opioid addiction, New York Attorney General Letitia James said on Wednesday. Reckitt in July agreed to pay up to $1.4 billion to resolve U.S. claims that its former pharmaceuticals business Indivior before it was spun out carried out an illegal scheme to boost sales of an opioid addiction treatment, Suboxone. Indivior in April was indicted and accused of deceiving doctors and healthcare benefit programs into believing Suboxone Film, itself a form of opioid, was safer and less susceptible to abuse than similar drugs. As part of the agreement, New York’s Medicaid program will receive more than $71.9 million in recoveries, with more than $39.9 million being returned to New York … Continue reading

Oct 23

PTSD tied to higher, earlier stroke risk

(Reuters Health) – Young adults who develop PTSD may be more likely to have a stroke by the time they are middle aged, a study of U.S. veterans suggests. Researchers followed almost one million young and middle-aged veterans of the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan for more than a decade, starting when they were 30 years old, on average, and had no history of stroke. Overall, 29% had been diagnosed with PTSD. During the study, 766 people had a transient ischemic attack, or brief “mini-stroke,” and another 1,877 people had a stroke. Veterans with PTSD were 61% more likely than others to have a mini-stroke and 36% more likely to have a stroke, the study found. “This trend is very concerning given the devastating impact stroke has on young patients and their families, many of whom struggle to cope with … Continue reading

Oct 23

Limited language fluency tied to repeat hospitalizations

(Reuters Health) – Poor language comprehension may raise the odds of a repeat hospitalization, a Canadian study suggests. Researchers in Toronto found that patients with limited English proficiency were more likely than fluent English speakers to be hospitalized more than once in the same month. They compared 2,336 patients with limited English proficiency and 7,545 patients with solid English skills who were hospitalized at two Toronto hospitals between 2008 and 2016. Patients either had acute conditions, including pneumonia or a broken hip, or long-term problems such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or heart failure. Overall, about 15% of patients visited the emergency room within 30 days of leaving the hospital and 12.5% had repeat hospital admissions. After three months, 22% of patients had a repeat hospitalization. With limited English proficiency, heart failure patients were 32% more likely to visit … Continue reading

Oct 23

Teva’s proposed opioid settlement could cost drugmaker pennies on the dollar

NEW YORK/BOSTON (Reuters) – Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd’s proposed $23 billion drug giveaway to settle thousands of U.S. opioid lawsuits will likely cost the company a fraction of that figure due to how it has valued those medicines, according to a Reuters review of pricing data and industry analysts. FILE PHOTO: The logo of Teva Pharmaceutical Industries is seen during a news conference by its CEO, Kare Schultz, to discuss the company’s 2019 outlooks in Tel Aviv, Israel February 19, 2019. REUTERS/Amir Cohen When Teva (TEVA.TA) announced the value of the donated medicine – a generic version of opioid addiction treatment Suboxone – it based the figure on the drug’s list price, which does not account for significant discounts routinely provided by the drugmaker. If based on the estimated cost to manufacture the drugs, the value could be as low … Continue reading

Oct 23

Drinking with certain drugs tied to fall risk for seniors

(Reuters Health) – Older adults who take many common medicines may be more likely to fall and be injured when they drink alcohol, a recent study suggests. Researchers focused on a wide variety of medicines that can have potentially dangerous side effects when mixed with alcohol including certain blood pressure treatments, allergy pills, painkillers, psychiatric medicines and diabetes therapies. Mixed with alcohol, many of these medicines might cause falls because of drowsiness or sharp dips in blood pressure or blood sugar, the study team theorized. To find out, they surveyed 1,457 adults aged 65 and older about their use of these medicines and about their drinking habits, then assessed how many people had falls over the next two to four years. The fall risk overall didn’t appear higher for people who used certain medicines that are thought to mix poorly … Continue reading

Oct 23

Moderate weight gain may be healthiest in twin pregnancies

(Reuters Health) – Pregnant women may be “eating for two” – or more – but when it comes to twin pregnancies, gaining too much weight may be as bad as gaining too little, a U.S. study suggests. There isn’t a lot of evidence for an ideal amount of weight gain in a twin pregnancy, the study team writes in Obstetrics & Gynecology. But in a large analysis of twin pregnancies, they found that both very high and very low weight gain was associated with more preterm births and infant death. Gaining too little weight was also linked with having babies that were small for their gestational age, and gaining too much was tied to overly-large babies and cesarean deliveries. “Twin pregnancies have high rates of complications, so it is important to identify factors that we can modify during pregnancy to … Continue reading

Oct 23

Eli Lilly to target cancer drug developers for deals

The logo and ticker for Eli Lilly and Co. are displayed on a screen on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., May 18, 2018. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo (Reuters) – Eli Lilly and Co will target cancer drug developers for deals, Chief Executive Officer Dave Ricks said on a post-earnings conference call on Wednesday. “Probably because of the number of opportunities, you will see us active in oncology – that’s where a lot of early stage biotech is,” Ricks said. Reporting by Manas Mishra in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Oct 23

That last toke for the road could be a downer with pot breathalyzers coming

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – One toke for the road could end up being a total bummer for drivers who smoke pot, with several companies in the United States preparing to market cannabis breathalyzers as legalized marijuana spreads across the country. A Hound Labs marijuana breathalyzer, which the Oakland-based company says can detect minuscule amounts of THC on a user’s breath, lies on top of its base-station in Newark, California, U.S. October 3, 2019. REUTERS/Jane Ross Law enforcement agencies will require breathalyzers to detect marijuana as they are “faced with the necessity of stopping more and more motor vehicles being operated under the influence of THC,” said Brett Meade, a retired police chief and a senior program manager for Washington-based non-profit group the Police Foundation. Nearly a dozen U.S. states allow recreational marijuana consumption and 33 states permit pot for medical … Continue reading

Oct 23

Workers in pain: Employers take a new twist to prevent costly injuries

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Your job does not have to be physically demanding to literally be a pain in the neck, or knee, or lower back. FILE PHOTO: A physical therapy room is seen at an onsite health clinic at the Intel corporate campus in Hillsboro, Oregon, U.S., April 25, 2018. REUTERS/Caroline Humer/File Photo Musculoskeletal conditions are among the top expenses for employee healthcare benefits, accounting for about a third of all worker injury and illness cases, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). With healthcare costs projected to rise 4.9% in 2020, according to Willis Towers Watson, many large companies are ready to try something new. They plan to spend more upfront to try to prevent higher costs later on. For conditions like chronic back pain, that means trying to prevent injuries or treat them with innovative … Continue reading

Oct 23

Disease fighters to mark partial victory in polio eradication battle

LONDON (Reuters) – Global health officials will on Thursday announce a partial victory in the decades-long fight to end polio, with a second of three strains of the crippling virus certified as eradicated worldwide. The ending of wild polio virus type 3 – also known as WPV3 – will be the third human disease-causing pathogen to be eradicated in history, after smallpox was declared wiped out in 1980 and wild polio virus type 2 (WPV2) in 2015. Polio spreads in vulnerable populations in areas where there is no immunity and sanitation is poor. It invades the nervous system and can cause irreversible paralysis within hours. It cannot be cured, but infection can be prevented by vaccination – and a dramatic reduction in case numbers worldwide in recent decades has been largely due to intense national and regional immunization campaigns in … Continue reading

Oct 22

Biogen, Eisai revive plans for Alzheimer's drug, surprising market

(Reuters) – Biogen Inc (BIIB.O) revived plans on Tuesday to seek U.S. approval for Alzheimer’s treatment aducanumab, surprising investors and saying data from more patients in two discontinued studies showed the drug reduced the decline of patients. The drugmaker’s shares soared 27% in New York trading, recouping almost all of the $18 billion it lost when it said in March it was abandoning the two studies. Shares in Eisai Co (4523.T), Biogen’s Japanese partner in the drug, were quoted up 18% to the daily limit high of 6,534 yen in Tokyo trading. The field of experimental Alzheimer’s treatments is littered with high-profile failures, with many major drugmakers abandoning the race to develop a medicine for a disease that makes up 60%-70% of an estimated 50 million dementia cases globally. Any medicine that effectively treats the disease is likely to become … Continue reading

Oct 22

South Korea warns of 'serious risk' from vaping, considers sales ban

SEOUL (Reuters) – South Korea on Wednesday advised people to stop using liquid e-cigarettes due to growing health concerns and vowed to speed up an investigation into whether to ban sales, a move likely to hit major producers such as Juul and local tobacco company KT&G. A man vapes in Seoul, South Korea, October 23, 2019. REUTERS/Heo Ran While long-term health impacts from vaping remain largely unknown, e-cigarettes were viewed as a healthier alternative that could help users quit smoking when they were first launched a few years ago. But countries around the world have been pulling electronic cigarette products from markets and restricting advertising as vaping faces increased scrutiny. “The current situation is considered as a serious risk to public health,” South Korea’s health minister Park Neung-hoo told a briefing, citing cases of lung injuries associated with e-cigarette use … Continue reading

Oct 22

South Korea warns against 'grave threat' from liquid e-cigarettes

SEOUL (Reuters) – South Korea’s health minister on Wednesday “strongly advised” the public to stop using liquid e-cigarettes as growing health concerns fuel a global backlash against vaping. FILE PHOTO: A man uses a vape device in this illustration picture, September 19, 2019. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi/Illustration/File Photo Countries around the world have been pulling electronic cigarette products from markets and restricting advertising as vaping faces increased scrutiny. “The current situation is considered as a grave threat to public health,” South Korea’s health minister Park Neung-hoo told a briefing, citing cases of lung injuries associated with e-cigarette use in the United States. Park said the government would expedite its own studies to determine if there was a scientific basis to ban sales of liquid e-cigarettes. U.S. health officials have so far reported 33 deaths and 1,479 confirmed and probable cases from a … Continue reading

Oct 22

Women giving birth in low-income countries often endure abuse

(Reuters Health) – Women are often mistreated during labor and delivery at hospitals in low-income countries, a new study suggests. During in-person observations of births at urban hospitals in Ghana, Guinea and Nigeria, researchers found that more than 40 percent of women experienced physical or verbal abuse, stigmatization or discrimination related to race or ethnicity, according to a report in The Lancet. Surveys of women who had recently given birth in those countries and in Myanmar yielded similar findings. Both the surveys and the observations highlighted frequent physical abuse, such as being slapped, hit, punched, or having a provider forcefully push down on the woman’s abdomen. Women were often forcefully held down in bed as they labored. Verbal abuse was also common, including being shouted at, scolded or mocked. “Ultimately, to achieve respectful maternity care, the balance of power must … Continue reading

Oct 22

Johnson & Johnson CEO testified Baby Powder was safe 13 days before FDA bombshell

LOS ANGELES/NEW YORK (Reuters) – Facing off against a plaintiff’s lawyer for the first time about Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder, the company’s Chief Executive Alex Gorsky earlier this month insisted that the company’s iconic brand was safe. FILE PHOTO: Johnson & JohnsonÕs Chief Executive Alex Gorsky speaks during a recorded deposition in New York, U.S. October 3, 2019. Simmons Hanly Conroy/Handout via REUTERS. “We unequivocally believe that our talc and our baby powder does not contain asbestos,” Gorsky testified in an Oct. 3 deposition in a case involving a retired Indiana college professor who alleges his cancer was caused by the Baby Powder he used for decades. The deposition has not been previously reported. Gorsky, citing “thousands of tests and studies” to support his testimony, said: “I’m not aware of our baby powder or talc containing asbestos.” That’s harder … Continue reading

Oct 22

More than 100 elephants die in Botswana in suspected anthrax outbreak

FILE PHOTO: The marked carcass of an elephant is seen, after reports that conservationists have discovered 87 of them slaughtered just in the last few months, in the Mababe area, Botswana, September 19, 2018. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko/File Photo GABORONE (Reuters) – More than 100 elephants have died in Botswana in the past two months partly because of a suspected anthrax outbreak, the government said on Tuesday. “Preliminary investigations suggest the elephants are dying from anthrax whilst some died from drought effects,” a Department of Wildlife and National Parks statement said. “Due to the severe drought, elephants end up ingesting soil while grazing and get exposed to the anthrax bacteria spore,” it said. Elephants Without Borders said an aerial survey showed fresh elephant carcasses increased by 593% between 2014 to 2018, mostly from poaching and illegal hunting, with drought also a contributing … Continue reading

Oct 22

Bulimia tied to higher risk of heart disease and premature death

(Reuters Health) – Women hospitalized for bulimia may be more likely to develop heart disease and die prematurely, a recent study suggests. Researchers compared 818 women hospitalized for bulimia and more than 415,000 women hospitalized for pregnancy-related events. At the start, the women were 28 years old on average. During the next 12 years, the women hospitalized for bulimia had more than four times the risk of having events like heart attacks or strokes or dying than the other women in the study. “Bulimia is known to have acute implications for the heart, but the long term impact has not been previously studied,” said Dr. Nathalie Auger, of the University of Montreal Hospital Research Centre. “This study shows that bulimia has implications for a wide range of cardiovascular disorders later in life, as well as death,” Auger, senior author of … Continue reading

Oct 22

Canadian election clears path for universal drug plan

TORONTO (Reuters) – Canada’s Liberal government is more likely to pass a universal prescription drug plan after losing its majority in Monday’s election, setting the stage for what would be the biggest shakeup of the country’s public healthcare system since it was created in the 1960s. The Liberals won the most seats in the election but fell short of a majority, which means Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will need the support of rivals like the left-leaning New Democratic Party (NDP) to govern. Both the Liberals and NDP have promised a new national drug plan. Canada is the only developed country with a universal health care system that does not cover prescription drugs for all, though a patchwork of provincial programs support the elderly and people with low income or very high drug costs. Most Canadians rely on employer-funded drug plans. … Continue reading

Oct 22

Most preemies are healthy in adulthood

(Reuters Health) – More than half of premature infants grow up to be healthy adults without chronic medical issues, a new study suggests. Researchers followed 2.56 million babies born in Sweden between 1973 and 1977 until they were 30 years old on average, including about 149,000 premature infants. Each decade, preemies’ odds of survival to adulthood improved, from about 91% of preterm infants born in the 1970s to about 96% of those born in the 1990s. About 55% of preemies in the study had no serious chronic physical or mental health issues by early adulthood, compared 63% of full-term babies, researchers report in JAMA. “Our findings reflect the apparent resilience of preterm birth survivors in maintaining good health,” said Dr. Casey Crump, lead author of the study and a researcher at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in … Continue reading