Following is a summary of current health news briefs.
China approves 17 anti-cancer drugs for medical insurance coverage
China has approved 17 anti-cancer drugs for inclusion in its national health insurance system, the government said on Wednesday, part of its efforts to make cancer treatment more affordable as the number of cases increases. China's State Medical Insurance Administration has been in negotiations with domestic and overseas pharmaceutical companies to lower prices and put more cancer drugs on the list of medicines eligible for reimbursement.
UK clinical trials fall as Brexit clouds drug approval process
The number of new clinical trials started in Britain last year was 25 per cent lower than the average for 2009-16, as anxiety about Brexit's impact on future medicines regulation made companies hesitate about running studies in the country. A total of 597 trials were initiated in Britain in 2017, against an average of 806 over the previous eight years, according to a Fitch analysis on Tuesday.
Church-based programs may help bring blood pressure down
Lifestyle interventions delivered in churches by community-based healthcare workers may help bring down blood pressure among African-Americans, a new study finds. Hypertensive church members who attended weekly sessions devoted to lifestyle modification achieved an average drop of more than 16 points in systolic blood pressure levels, researchers reported in Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes.
Better insurance coverage of non-drug therapies might help ease the opioid crisis
When it comes to non-drug therapies for back pain, U.S. insurance plans vary widely in what they will cover, a new study finds. Private and public insurers are missing important opportunities to promote alternatives to opioids, the investigators write in JAMA Network Open.
Mental health crisis could cost the world $16 trillion by 2030
Mental health disorders are on the rise in every country in the world and could cost the global economy up to $16 trillion between 2010 and 2030 if a collective failure to respond is not addressed, according to an expert report on Tuesday. The "Lancet Commission" report by 28 global specialists in psychiatry, public health and neuroscience, as well as mental health patients and advocacy groups, said the growing crisis could cause lasting harm to people, communities and economies worldwide.
For U.S. patients, access to medical records often difficult and costly
Getting access to your own medical records might be a lot harder than you think, a new study suggests. Even the top-ranked U.S. hospitals can make records requests arduous, according to the study published in JAMA Network Open. "This study quantified the everyday experience of many Americans trying to get access to personal health information from a hospital," said senior author Dr Harlan Krumholz, director of the Center for Outcomes Research and Evaluation at the Yale-New Haven Hospital in Connecticut. "The law is very clear. People have a right to their data. They have a right to digital data without per page charges. Our study revealed that even at the very best places, there was an inconvenience, delay and often high cost."
French prosecutors step up a probe into baby milk contamination at Lactalis
French prosecutors have decided to further an investigation into a salmonella outbreak at a Lactalis dairy factory that led to dozens of babies falling ill last year, the Paris prosecutor's office said on Tuesday. Following a preliminary inquiry launched last December, prosecutors have now opened a probe into possible deceit, failure by a food company to withdraw a product and unintended injury, the office said.
China bans pig imports from Japan, Belgium over swine fever
China banned imports of pigs, wild boars and products from Belgium after an outbreak of African swine fever, as well as imports from Japan after a regular swine fever outbreak, the General Administration of Customs said on Tuesday. The move follows a similar ban on imports from Bulgaria on Monday and comes as the northeastern province of Liaoning reported a second outbreak of highly contagious African swine fever in two days.
J&J's Stelara succeeds in chronic bowel disease study
Johnson & Johnson said on Tuesday its blockbuster drug Stelara was found to be effective in treating a chronic bowel disease in a late-stage trial. Two doses of Stelara, already approved for psoriasis, psoriatic arthritis and Crohn's disease, was tested in 961 patients with moderate-to-severe ulcerative colitis (UC) who had failed prior therapy.
New WHO regional chief must battle lifestyle conditions, tropical diseases
Western Pacific health ministers picked a Japanese doctor as the next regional director of the World Health Organization (WHO) on Tuesday, spearheading a campaign to rein in lifestyle diseases linked to obesity and eradicate some tropical diseases by 2020. Beginning next year, Hiroshima-born Takeshi Kasai, 53, will use his five-year term to tackle growing concern over lifestyle diseases, which officials blame for 80 per cent of deaths among the 1.9 billion people of the western Pacific.
(With inputs from agencies.)