Health News Roundup: Shanghai extends weekly COVID-19 testing requirement until end of September; Monkeypox spread may be slowing in Canada, health official says and more
The FDA pointed to deficiencies in cleaning and maintenance of equipment to prevent contamination of drug product and also recommended the company review its quality control process, Emergent said. N.Korea lifts mask mandate, distancing rules after declaring COVID victory North Korea has dropped a face mask mandate and other social distancing rules as leader Kim Jong Un declared victory over COVID-19 this week, state media said on Saturday, three months after its first acknowledgement of the virus outbreak in the isolated country.
Following is a summary of current health news briefs.
U.S. and Switzerland working on facilitating pharma trade - U.S. ambassador
The United States and Switzerland can move towards free trade between their countries with sectoral deals and they are working on facilitating business in the pharmaceutical sector, the U.S. ambassador to Switzerland told the Tages Anzeiger newspaper. Scott Miller said that in the last round of trade negotiations between the two countries, Switzerland was not prepared to open its agricultural market for U.S. products.
Idaho top court allows near-total abortion ban to take effect
Idaho's top court on Friday refused to stop a Republican-backed state law criminalizing nearly all abortions from taking effect after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the 1973 decision Roe v. Wade that had recognized a constitutional right to the procedure. In a 3-2 ruling, the Idaho Supreme Court rejected a bid by a Planned Parenthood affiliate to prevent a ban from taking effect on Aug. 25 that the abortion provider argued would violate Idahoans' privacy and equal protection rights under the state's constitution. The measure allows for abortions only in cases of rape, incest or to prevent a pregnant woman's death.
Shanghai extends weekly COVID-19 testing requirement until end of September
China's most populous city Shanghai has extended its weekly COVID-19 test requirement and extended free testing until the end of September in a bid to keep the virus in check, authorities announced on Saturday. Citizens without a record of a nucleic acid test from within seven days will be assigned a yellow code on Shanghai's health code system, the official notice said. A yellow code restricts access to some public venues.
Polio virus found in New York City wastewater, suggesting local transmission
Health officials identified the virus that causes polio in New York City's wastewater, suggesting local transmission of the virus, state authorities said on Friday, urging unvaccinated New Yorkers to get vaccinated. "The NYC Heath Department and the New York State Department of Health have identified poliovirus in sewage in NYC, suggesting local transmission of the virus," the city's health department said in a statement on Friday.
Monkeypox spread may be slowing in Canada, health official says
There are early signs that the spread of monkeypox infections are starting to slow down in Canada, but it was "too soon to tell" whether cases had plateaued, chief public health officer Theresa Tam said on Friday. "The cases are not increasing at the speed at which they were increasing at the beginning of the outbreak and so we will just keep monitoring that trend in the next number of weeks," Tam told reporters at a briefing.
Drugmakers' shares stabilise after Zantac litigation slump
Shares in GSK, Sanofi, Haleon and Pfizer began to recover on Friday after the companies said that nothing material had changed regarding U.S. litigation focused on heartburn drug Zantac. The companies' share prices had fallen sharply this week on investor concern about the litigation over potential cancer-causing impurities that prompted the drug's withdrawal from markets in 2019 and 2020.
Analysis-U.S. move to negotiate drug prices a rare defeat for Big Pharma
Big Pharma spent more than any other industry to lobby Congress and federal agencies this year, a Reuters analysis shows, but still suffered a major defeat after failing to stop a bill that allows the government to negotiate prices on select drugs. Despite the pharmaceutical industry's spending at least $142 million on lobbying efforts, the $430 billion Inflation Reduction Act to change climate, health and tax policies will become law. It cleared its largest hurdle last week with passage in the Senate, without any Republicans joining Democrats in voting for the bill, followed by passage by the U.S. House of Representatives on Friday.
J&J to end global sales of talc-based baby powder
Johnson & Johnson will stop selling talc-based baby powder globally in 2023, the drugmaker said on Thursday, more than two years after it ended U.S. sales of a product that drew thousands of consumer safety lawsuits. "As part of a worldwide portfolio assessment, we have made the commercial decision to transition to an all cornstarch-based baby powder portfolio," it said, adding that cornstarch-based baby powder is already sold in countries around the world.
Emergent receives FDA warning letter over quality control issues
Emergent BioSolutions Inc said on Friday it had received a warning letter from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, citing certain deficiencies at the contract drugmaker's manufacturing facility in Baltimore, Maryland. The FDA pointed to deficiencies in cleaning and maintenance of equipment to prevent contamination of drug product and also recommended the company review its quality control process, Emergent said.
N.Korea lifts mask mandate, distancing rules after declaring COVID victory
North Korea has dropped a face mask mandate and other social distancing rules as leader Kim Jong Un declared victory over COVID-19 this week, state media said on Saturday, three months after its first acknowledgment of the virus outbreak in the isolated country. Kim presided over a COVID meeting on Wednesday and ordered the lifting of maximum anti-epidemic measures imposed in May, adding that North Korea must maintain a "steel-strong anti-epidemic barrier."
(With inputs from agencies.)