Health News Roundup: New York officials ask 3 pharmacy chains for plans on abortion drug access; FDA mandates breast density information with mammography results and more
The drugmaker is racing rival Pfizer Inc to introduce the first approved RSV vaccine in the United States, where 14,000 people die annually of the lower respiratory tract disease caused by the virus. India prohibits use of propylene glycol from supplier linked to Uzbekistan deaths India directed drug manufacturers to stop using propylene glycol sourced from the Delhi-based firm that supplied the ingredient to Marion Biotech, whose cough syrups were linked to deaths of 19 children in Uzbekistan, according to a government document seen by Reuters.
Following is a summary of current health news briefs.
New York officials ask 3 pharmacy chains for plans on abortion drug access
New York government officials on Thursday sent a letter to pharmacy operators CVS Health Corp, Walgreens Boot Alliance and Rite Aid Corp, asking about their plans to make abortion pill mifepristone available in the state. The letter from New York Governor Kathy Hochul and Attorney General Letitia James asked the companies to respond in writing within 10 business days about their commitment to dispense mifepristone at U.S. drug regulator-certified pharmacy locations and via mail in the state.
FDA mandates breast density information with mammography results
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said on Thursday all mammography facilities in the country will be required to notify patients about the density of their breast tissues, as that can potentially make detection of tumors more difficult. Breast density can influence the accuracy of mammography, which relies on X-rays passing through breast tissues to diagnose and locate tumors.
Bayer plans to spend $1 billion on US pharma R&D in 2023-US pharma head
Bayer AG plans to spend $1 billion on drug research and development in the U.S. this year as it works to double its sales in the country by the end of the decade, Bayer's top U.S. pharmaceutical executive told Reuters. Sebastian Guth, president of Bayer's pharmaceuticals business in the Americas, also said in an interview on Wednesday that the company had raised the number of U.S. employees working on marketing for its pharmaceutical business by around 50% over the last three years, and plans to expand on that by another 75% by 2030.
GSK expects US launch of RSV vaccine with no supply issues
GSK expects to launch its respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) vaccine in the U.S. this year without supply constraints and sees China as a major future market for the shot, a senior executive told Reuters. The drugmaker is racing rival Pfizer Inc to introduce the first approved RSV vaccine in the United States, where 14,000 people die annually of the lower respiratory tract disease caused by the virus.
India prohibits use of propylene glycol from supplier linked to Uzbekistan deaths
India directed drug manufacturers to stop using propylene glycol sourced from the Delhi-based firm that supplied the ingredient to Marion Biotech, whose cough syrups were linked to deaths of 19 children in Uzbekistan, according to a government document seen by Reuters. Uzbekistan said in December that the children died after consuming Marion's cough syrups, Ambronol and DOK-1 Max, which were contaminated with unacceptable amounts of diethylene glycol or ethylene glycol.
AstraZeneca says cancer drug Imfinzi improves survival chances in late-stage trial
Lung cancer patients treated with AstraZeneca's immunotherapy Imfinzi pre- and post-surgery in a trial lived significantly longer without the disease progressing or recurring than those treated with chemotherapy, the drugmaker said on Thursday. The late-stage study compared patients with resectable, early-stage, non-small cell lung cancer who were treated with Imfinzi along with chemotherapy before surgery and as a monotherapy after surgery, to patients treated with chemotherapy pre-surgery.
Pfizer ready to launch RSV vaccines for older adults, pregnant women in US, Europe
U.S. drugmaker Pfizer is ready to launch its respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) vaccine for both older adults and pregnant women in the United States and Europe later this year, executives said on Thursday. Both Pfizer and British drugmaker GSK have RSV vaccines they hope to launch in the United States and Europe this year, pending regulators’ approval.
Risk of a new COVID-19 variant "is real", says PAHO director
The risk of a new COVID-19 variant appearing "is real", said Dr. Jarbas Barbosa, director of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) in a press conference on Thursday. Barbosa said "we are not out of the woods" yet when it comes to COVID-19, and that the region needs to continue implementing vaccinations, noting that uptake for COVID-19 boosters was seeing a continued decline.
Honduras lifts decade-long ban on 'morning after pill'
Honduran President Xiomara Castro signed an executive order on Wednesday ending a ban of more than 10 years on the use and sale of the "morning after pill," fulfilling a campaign promise long-awaited by feminist groups. Castro, the country's first female president, took office last year after running on the promise of rolling back the country's restrictive reproductive policies.
US FDA flags shortage of medication used to treat breathing conditions
The U.S. health regulator said on Wednesday that it is working to address a shortage of a particular form of albuterol, a medication used to treat breathing conditions, as its sole manufacturer Akorn has stopped production. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) added that it is working closely with manufacturers in the supply chain to "understand, mitigate and prevent or reduce any related impacts" due to the shortage of the medication.
(With inputs from agencies.)
European leaders meet in Iceland to reaffirm values as Ukraine war rages on
Tourism stakeholders hope G20 event in Kashmir will help lift travel advisories by US, Europe
Zelenskyy's European tour aimed to replenish Ukraine's arsenal and build political support
For the 4th year in a row, France ranks 1st for Foreign Direct Investments in Europe according to EY survey
Council of Europe summit in Iceland seeks to hold Russia to account for Ukraine war