Health News Roundup: Britain's first supervised drug-injection site approved; Namibia bans poultry imports from South Africa due to bird flu and more
The Food and Drug Administration has reprimanded at least 28 companies this year, saying they failed to prove sufficient testing of ingredients used in over-the-counter drugs and consumer products for the toxins ethylene glycol (EG) and diethylene glycol (DEG), according to a Reuters analysis of agency import alerts and warning letters to manufacturers. Exclusive-Edwards Lifesciences cooperating with EU antitrust regulators Edwards Lifesciences is working with EU antitrust regulators after they raided one of its facilities in an EU country a week ago, the U.S. medical device maker said on Tuesday.
Following is a summary of current health news briefs.
Britain's first supervised drug-injection site approved
Britain's first official supervised drug consumption room was approved on Wednesday, seeking to reduce infectious diseases and overdoses in Scotland which suffers from the highest level of drug-related deaths in Europe. Following similar projects in Europe, Canada and Australia, Glasgow City Council, which runs the largest city in Scotland, approved plans for the facility that will allow people to legally take illicit drugs under the supervision of trained professionals and will provide them with clean equipment.
Namibia bans poultry imports from South Africa due to bird flu
Namibia has suspended imports of live poultry, birds and poultry products from South Africa following the spread of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in the neighbouring country. The suspension is in effect until further notice, the agriculture ministry said in a statement released on Wednesday.
Biden plans $100 million drive to combat drug-resistant 'superbugs'
U.S. President Joe Biden will announce on Wednesday a $100 million research drive to fight deadly drug-resistant bacteria, according to a White House official. More than a million people worldwide lose their lives each year due to infections resulting from bacteria resistant to antibiotics, according to the World Health Organization.
EU regulator to discuss anaesthesia risk for weight-loss drugs
The European Medicines Agency (EMA) will discuss the risk that patients on Wegovy, Ozempic or similar drugs may suffer certain complications under anaesthesia that can lead to pneumonia, according to an agenda posted on the regulator's website. The regulator's Pharmacovigilance Risk Assessment Committee (PRAC), which monitors drugs' side effects, will discuss at its monthly series of meetings this week a new "signal of aspiration and pneumonia aspiration" associated with the class of weight-loss and diabetes drugs known as GLP-1 receptor agonists, according to the document posted late on Monday.
About 250,000 courses of COVID pill Paxlovid being administered per week - Pfizer CEO
Pfizer Inc's chief executive said on Tuesday that almost 250,000 courses of the drugmaker's oral antiviral COVID-19 treatment Paxlovid were being administered per week as cases surged in the United States. Speaking at the Cantor Fitzgerald Annual Healthcare Conference, Chief Executive Officer Albert Bourla said the company is still uncertain about when Paxlovid, which is currently being distributed by the government, will receive approval to be sold in the U.S. commercial market.
Consulting firm McKinsey to pay $230 million in latest US opioid settlements
Consulting firm McKinsey & Co has agreed to pay $230 million to resolve lawsuits by hundreds of U.S. local governments and school districts alleging it fueled an epidemic of opioid addiction through its work for bankrupt OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma and other drug companies. The settlements, which require a judge's approval, were disclosed in papers filed on Tuesday in federal court in San Francisco. The money is on top of $641.5 million that McKinsey already paid to resolve claims by state attorneys-general.
Cough syrup deaths overseas prompt US crackdown on toxic testing
The U.S. FDA is cracking down on lax testing practices by dozens of makers of healthcare products following hundreds of deaths overseas from contaminated cough syrups, a Reuters review of regulatory alerts found. The Food and Drug Administration has reprimanded at least 28 companies this year, saying they failed to prove sufficient testing of ingredients used in over-the-counter drugs and consumer products for the toxins ethylene glycol (EG) and diethylene glycol (DEG), according to a Reuters analysis of agency import alerts and warning letters to manufacturers.
Exclusive-Edwards Lifesciences cooperating with EU antitrust regulators
Edwards Lifesciences is working with EU antitrust regulators after they raided one of its facilities in an EU country a week ago, the U.S. medical device maker said on Tuesday. Edwards Lifesciences' shares had dipped 2.5% in pre-market trade after Reuters published a story citing two people with direct knowledge of the EU raid. The stock recovered and is now up 0.8%.
Sudan medics warn that cholera and dengue fever are spreading
Medics in Sudan have warned that cases of cholera and dengue fever are spreading due to the arrival of seasonal rains and the impact of more than five months of war on a health system that was already struggling before fighting began. Health authorities have confirmed cases of cholera for the first time since the war between rival military factions began in mid-April, saying that the earliest case had been detected in al-Qadarif state in late August.
US judge overturns Eli Lilly's $176.5 million loss in Teva patent case
Drugmaker Eli Lilly convinced a federal judge in Massachusetts on Tuesday to overturn a $176.5 million jury verdict for Teva Pharmaceutical that found Lilly's migraine drug Emgality infringed three patents related to Teva's rival drug Ajovy. U.S. District Judge Allison Burroughs said in a post-trial ruling that the Teva patents covering the use of antibodies to inhibit headache-causing peptides were invalid.
(With inputs from agencies.)