Health News Roundup: WHO warns 'sustained transmission' of monkeypox risks vulnerable groups; EU proposes ban on flavoured heated tobacco products and more
None of the cases in children have been severe. Sanofi caps out-of-pocket insulin cost at $35 for uninsured U.S. patients French drugmaker Sanofi said on Wednesday uninsured diabetes patients in the United States will pay no more than $35 for 30-day supply of insulin, in the wake of heightened public scrutiny over soaring prices of the life-saving drug.
Following is a summary of current health news briefs.
WHO warns 'sustained transmission' of monkeypox risks vulnerable groups
The World Health Organization says "sustained transmission" of monkeypox worldwide could see the virus begin to move into high-risk groups, such as pregnant women, immunocompromised people and children. WHO said on Wednesday it was investigating reports of infected children, including two cases in Britain, as well as following up reports in Spain and France. None of the cases in children have been severe.
Sanofi caps out-of-pocket insulin cost at $35 for uninsured U.S. patients
French drugmaker Sanofi said on Wednesday uninsured diabetes patients in the United States will pay no more than $35 for 30-day supply of insulin, in the wake of heightened public scrutiny over soaring prices of the life-saving drug. Sanofi said the new price, down from the prior out-of-pocket cost of $99, will be effective from July 1.
EU proposes ban on flavoured heated tobacco products
The European Commission proposed on Wednesday to ban the sale in the EU of flavoured heated tobacco products after a big rise in their consumption. "By removing flavoured heated tobacco from the market we are taking yet another step towards realising our vision under Europe's Beating Cancer Plan to create a "Tobacco Free Generation" with less than 5% of the population using tobacco by 2040," EU health commissioner Stella Kyriakides said in a statement.
British Columbia reaches $116 million settlement with Purdue Pharma over opioid crisis
Canada's British Columbia province said on Wednesday it reached a C$150 million ($116.50 million) settlement with OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma Canada over healthcare costs related to the opioid crisis. Purdue had been named as one of more than 40 defendants - drugmakers and distributors - in a proposed class-action lawsuit brought by British Columbia in 2018 on behalf of all provincial and federal Canadian governments. The lawsuit aims to recover healthcare costs for the "wrongful conduct of opioid manufacturers, distributors and their consultants."
Eli Lilly and Co said on Wednesday it will supply additional doses of its COVID-19 antibody drug to the U.S. government in order to meet demand through late August. As per the modified supply agreement with the government, Lilly will provide an additional 150,000 doses of bebtelovimab for about $275 million. The drug has also shown effectiveness against the Omicron variant.
Shifting U.S. abortion landscape: What you need to know right now
Abortion rights groups are flooding state courts with lawsuits seeking to stop the enforcement of bans that began taking effect after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the 1973 Roe v. Wade case that legalized abortion nationwide. Meanwhile, Democratic-led states are trying to pass legislation that would strengthen protections for abortion providers and patients, anticipating an influx of women from abortion-hostile states seeking to terminate pregnancies.
China's easing COVID curbs spark travel inquiry surge, and caution
Online searches for Chinese airline tickets on domestic and international routes surged on Wednesday, after Beijing said it would slash COVID-19 quarantine requirements and made changes to a state-mandated mobile app used for local travel. The unexpected moves mark a significant easing of rigid curbs that have severely curtailed travel and battered China's economy, although tough measures remain in place including a scarcity of international flights, and many social media users voiced caution.
COVID-19 cases in the Americas rose 13.9% last week from the previous one, with 1.3 million new cases and 4,158 new deaths, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) said at a news conference on Wednesday.
European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen is no longer in possession of text messages that she exchanged with Pfizer chief Albert Bourla to seal a COVID-19 vaccine deal, the Commission said in a letter published on Wednesday. In an interview in April 2021, von der Leyen revealed she had exchanged texts with Bourla for a month when they were negotiating a massive vaccine contract.
BioNTech, Pfizer to start testing universal vaccine for coronaviruses
Germany's BioNTech, Pfizer's partner in COVID-19 vaccines, said the two companies would start tests on humans of next-generation shots that protect against a wide variety of coronaviruses in the second half of the year. Their experimental work on shots that go beyond the current approach include T-cell-enhancing shots, designed to primarily protect against severe disease if the virus becomes more dangerous, and pan-coronavirus shots that protect against the broader family of viruses and its mutations.
(With inputs from agencies.)