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Reuters Health News Summary

Updated: 14-11-2018 02:26 IST

Following is a summary of current health news briefs.

Walmart, Home Depot adopt health insurer tactic in drug copay battle

Walmart and Home Depot, two of the top 10 U.S. employers, have embraced a health insurance strategy that punishes drugmakers for using discount cards to keep patients from switching or stopping their medications. Large U.S. companies have started tightly managing how employees and their family members use these popular discount, or copay, cards for everything from multiple sclerosis treatments to widely-used rheumatoid arthritis medications sold through a specialty pharmacy.

Congo's Ebola outbreak to last at least six more months: WHO

The Ebola outbreak in northeastern Democratic Republic of Congo, which has already killed more than 200 people, is expected to last until mid-2019, a senior World Health Organization official said on Tuesday. "It's very hard to predict timeframes in an outbreak as complicated as this with so many variables that are outside our control, but certainly we're planning on at least another six months before we can declare this outbreak over," WHO emergency response chief Peter Salama told reporters.

Sobi buys rights to AstraZeneca infant drug for $1.5 billion upfront

AstraZeneca has taken another step to refocus on priority drugs by selling U.S. rights to a treatment for infant lung infections to Swedish Orphan Biovitrum for an upfront fee of $1.5 billion. Around 130 AstraZeneca staff will transfer to Sobi as the Swedish company, widely known as Sobi, takes over marketing of the treatment Synagis in the United States.

Mayo Clinic gets $200 million donation from turnaround expert Jay Alix

The Mayo Clinic on Tuesday said it received $200 million, the largest donation the academic medical center has ever received, from Jay Alix, founder of the consulting firm Alix Partners. The Minnesota-based non-profit organization said the donation would help it widen scholarships and further research at its medical school.

Concussions tied to doubled risk of suicide

Survivors of traumatic brain injuries may be more than twice as likely to die by suicide as individuals without a history of injuries like concussions or skull fractures, a research review suggests. The findings are drawn from six studies with a total of more than 700,000 people who experienced concussions or other traumatic brain injuries and more than 6.2 million individuals who didn't have these diagnoses. Half of the participants stayed in the studies for two to 12 years or more.

Juul Labs to pull sweet e-cig flavors to curb youth use

Juul Labs Inc, the U.S. market leader for electronic cigarettes, said on Tuesday it will pull popular flavors such as mango, cucumber and fruit from retail store shelves in an effort to reduce surging teenage use of its products. The move comes as Juul and other e-cigarette makers have faced heightened scrutiny from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration amid a sharp increase by high school students in use of the devices, which look like a USB flash drive and vaporize a flavored liquid containing nicotine.

Roche's Tecentriq wins fast FDA review in tough-to-treat breast cancer

Swiss drugmaker Roche said on Tuesday its Tecentriq medicine will get a speedy review by U.S. regulators in a tough-to-treat form of breast cancer, as it seeks to be the first company to have its immunotherapy win approval in this indication. Roche said the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) gave priority review to Tecentriq with the chemotherapy Abraxane for initial treatment of people with metastatic triple-negative breast cancer whose tumors test positive for a protein, called PD-L1, that helps them avoid immune system detection.

Beekeeper therapist uses venom to heal his patients

On his rooftop in the outskirts of Cairo, Omar Abulhassan raises thousands of bees -- not for the honey, but their venom. After reading about the benefits of bees in the Koran, Abulhassan, 30, decided five years ago to raise the insects and use the venom in alternative therapy. He believes bee stings can relieve pain and cure illnesses such as rheumatism.

Obese kids less often demonstrate coping skills, academic interest

Obese children may be less likely to meet a set of five markers for childhood flourishing that include academic and emotional skills, a new analysis of U.S. survey data suggests. Those markers include completing homework, caring about academics, finishing tasks, staying calm when challenged and showing interest in learning, according to the study authors who presented their results on November 3 at the American Academy of Pediatrics annual conference in Orlando, Florida.

Express Scripts offers new formulary for lower list-price drugs

Express Scripts Holding Co on Tuesday announced a new drug reimbursement list with lower U.S. prices for brand-name medications, as a way to encourage drugmakers to move away from paying rebates after a prescription is filled. The manager of prescription drug benefits for large corporate employers and government health plans said its new National Preferred Flex Formulary will be available as of Jan. 1 to all clients. So far two drugs from a Gilead Sciences Inc unit will be on the new formulary, which Express Scripts said in a statement it hoped would encourage more drugmakers to keep list prices low.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)