Health News Roundup: Canada moves to extend exclusion of mental illness from assisted death; China's CanSino confident its mRNA COVID vaccine as good as Moderna, Pfizer shots and more
The drug was approved for an advanced form of breast cancer with a subtype known as HR-positive/HER2-negative in patients, who had stopped responding to a hormone-based therapy and at least two earlier systemic therapies. India to spend $79.6 million to strengthen drug regulatory system India will spend $79.6 million on strengthening its drug regulatory system, the health minister said on Friday, after the World Health Organization raised concerns about domestically produced cough syrups being linked to the death of 89 children in two countries.
Following is a summary of current health news briefs.
Canada moves to extend exclusion of mental illness from assisted death
Canada's federal government on Thursday introduced a law that would exclude people suffering solely from mental illness from pursuing assisted death for an additional year. Legislation passed in 2021 temporarily excluded people whose only underlying condition is a mental illness from accessing assisted death - a provision that expires on March 17. If the bill tabled Thursday passes, it will extend that until March 17, 2024.
U.S. FDA says India-made eye drop linked to some infections, blindness and one death
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has warned against using an eye drop made in India that has been linked to the outbreak of a drug-resistant bacteria leading to adverse events in at least 55 patients in the United States including infections, blindness and one death. The agency said on Thursday that Artificial Tears eye drop manufactured by India's Global Pharma Healthcare Pvt Ltd has a potential bacterial contamination and the company has violated current good manufacturing practices.
China's CanSino confident its mRNA COVID vaccine as good as Moderna, Pfizer shots
CanSino Biologics Chief Executive Yu Xuefeng said on Friday he was confident his company's experimental COVID-19 vaccine using messenger RNA (mRNA) technology was as good as shots from Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech. As the COVID-19 pandemic evolves in China after the country abandoned its zero-COVID policy in December, domestic companies like CanSino are racing to develop mRNA COVID vaccines.
Biden administration seeks to toughen school nutrition standards
School meals for millions of children in the United States would include less sugar, more whole grains, and lower sodium under new standards proposed by the Biden administration on Friday. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said the updated standards, to be rolled out over the next several years, were essential to tackling health concerns like childhood obesity.
Germany drops to no. 2 WHO donor despite new pledge for $140 million
Germany will give 130 million euros ($141.87 million) to the World Health Organization this year, its health minister said on Thursday following a meeting with the U.N. health agency's head. However, the announcement was not enough to return it to the top donor spot after Berlin temporarily overtook the main historical contributor Washington in the last funding period 2020-2021 due to Trump-era funding cuts, WHO data showed.
Doctor's opioid prescription conviction tossed after U.S. Supreme Court ruling
A federal appeals court on Friday overturned the conviction of a doctor accused of unlawfully prescribing addictive opioids in Arizona and Wyoming after the U.S. Supreme Court issued a ruling in his favor that made it harder to prosecute such cases. The Denver-based 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that under last year's Supreme Court's decision, jurors were wrongly instructed on how to determine whether Shakeel Kahn knowingly prescribed powerful drugs in an illegal manner.
Mailing abortion pills could break law, Republican AGs tell pharmacies
A group of 20 Republican state attorneys general on Wednesday told Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc and CVS Health Corp that they risk running afoul of federal and state law if they dispense the abortion drug mifepristone by mail. The move, announced by Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey, comes weeks after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for the first time allowed retail pharmacies to dispense mifepristone, including by mail, provided they are certified under special safety rules for the drug.
U.S. House plans vote to end foreign air traveler COVID vaccine mandate
The U.S. House of Representatives plans to vote next week on a bill that would end a requirement that most foreign air travelers be vaccinated against COVID-19, Majority Leader Steve Scalise said on Friday. The Biden administration in June dropped its requirement that people arriving in the country by air must test negative for COVID-19 but has not lifted Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) vaccination requirements.
Gilead's breast cancer drug gets U.S. FDA approval for third indication
Gilead Sciences said on Friday the U.S. Food and Drug Administration had greenlighted the use of Trodelvy for a third indication, providing another treatment option for patients with the most common type of breast cancer. The drug was approved for an advanced form of breast cancer with a subtype known as HR-positive/HER2-negative in patients, who had stopped responding to a hormone-based therapy and at least two earlier systemic therapies.
India to spend $79.6 million to strengthen drug regulatory system
India will spend $79.6 million on strengthening its drug regulatory system, the health minister said on Friday, after the World Health Organization raised concerns about domestically produced cough syrups being linked to the death of 89 children in two countries. India is known as the "pharmacy of the world" and its pharmaceuticals exports have more than doubled over the past decade to $24.5 billion in 2021-22. The death of at least 70 children in Gambia and 19 children in Uzbekistan last year have dented that image.
(With inputs from agencies.)
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