Health News Roundup: WHO recommends malaria vaccine that will be rolled out next year; U.S. FDA declines to approve Eli Lilly's drug to treat eczema and more
The company said the agency did not raise concerns about the clinical trial data, safety or label for lebrikizumab, a monoclonal antibody for treatment of atopic dermatitis, or eczema. US Patent Office won't review two Novo Nordisk patents for Wegovy, Ozempic A U.S. Patent Office tribunal on Monday rejected challenges to two key patents owned by Novo Nordisk covering the active ingredient in its weight-loss and diabetes drugs Wegovy and Ozempic brought by a generic drugmaker that is hoping to sell generic versions of the blockbuster medications.
Following is a summary of current health news briefs.
WHO recommends malaria vaccine that will be rolled out next year
The World Health Organization (WHO) recommended on Monday the use of a second malaria vaccine to curb the life-threatening disease spread to humans by some mosquitoes. "Almost exactly two years ago, WHO recommended the broad use of the world's first malaria vaccine called RTS,S," WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a briefing in Geneva.
US Supreme Court rebuffs dispute over videos targeting abortion providers
The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday declined to hear a bid by anti-abortion activists to throw out more than $2 million in damages they were ordered to pay Planned Parenthood after secretly recording video of abortion providers in a scheme to try to show the illicit sale of aborted fetal tissue for profit.
The justices turned away the appeal by David Daleiden and his group, the Center for Medical Progress, of a lower court's decision in 2022 upholding most of the damages in a lawsuit by Planned Parenthood, a women's healthcare and abortion provider, accusing the defendants of conspiracy, eavesdropping and other claims. The lower court rejected the argument made by the defendants that with the secret recording they were exercising their right to free speech under the U.S. Constitution.
Bangladesh dengue deaths top 1,000 in worst outbreak
The death toll from Bangladesh's worst dengue outbreak on record has topped 1,000 this year, official data showed, with hospitals struggling to make space for patients as the disease spreads rapidly in the densely-populated country. At least 1,017 people have died so far in 2023 and nearly 209,000 infected, the data showed, making this the deadliest year since the first recorded epidemic in 2000.
US State Dept slams Congress for failure to renew PEPFAR anti-AIDS program
The U.S. Congress' failure to reauthorize the main U.S. program aimed at reducing the spread of AIDS sends a message that Washington is "backing down" from its leadership on the issue, State Department Spokesperson Matthew Miller said on Monday. A deadline to renew long-term funding for the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) passed on Saturday, despite a stop gap deal reached to avoid a government-wide shutdown.
US FDA approves Novo Nordisk's therapy for rare genetic condition
Novo Nordisk said on Monday the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had approved its therapy to treat a rare genetic condition that affects the kidneys. The once-monthly injection, to be sold under the brand name Rivfloza, is approved for use in people nine years and older with a type of primary hyperoxaluria and relatively preserved kidney function.
Hungarian and US scientists win Nobel for COVID-19 vaccine discoveries
Hungarian scientist Katalin Kariko and U.S. colleague Drew Weissman, who met in line for a photocopier before making mRNA molecule discoveries that paved the way for COVID-19 vaccines, won the 2023 Nobel Prize for Medicine on Monday. "The laureates contributed to the unprecedented rate of vaccine development during one of the greatest threats to human health in modern times," the Swedish award-giving body said in the latest accolade for the pair.
Drugmakers sign on to negotiate Medicare prices under protest
All the drugmakers that make the 10 prescription medicines subject to the first-ever price negotiations for the U.S. Medicare health program, including Amgen and Novartis, said they signed on to participate in the talks by the Oct. 1 deadline. The penalties for not doing so would have been steep: drugmakers would have to pay 65% to 95% taxes on their drug's Medicare sales or withdraw all of their products from the Medicare and Medicaid programs, which together provide health benefits to 158 million Americans.
Boehringer launches unbranded Humira biosimilar at 81% discount
Germany's Boehringer Ingelheim on Monday launched an unbranded version of its biosimilar of AbbVie's Humira with a list price 81% cheaper than the blockbuster rheumatoid arthritis drug. The company in July launched a branded biosimilar, Cyltezo, priced at a 5% discount to Humira's current list price of $6,922 per month. Boehringer's close-copies of Humira are the only ones that can be substituted for the original without consulting the prescriber after being designated as interchangeable by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
U.S. FDA declines to approve Eli Lilly's drug to treat eczema
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has declined to approve Eli Lilly's drug to treat a type of skin disease due to certain findings during an inspection of a contract manufacturer, the drugmaker said on Monday. The company said the agency did not raise concerns about the clinical trial data, safety or label for lebrikizumab, a monoclonal antibody for treatment of atopic dermatitis, or eczema.
US Patent Office won't review two Novo Nordisk patents for Wegovy, Ozempic
A U.S. Patent Office tribunal on Monday rejected challenges to two key patents owned by Novo Nordisk covering the active ingredient in its weight-loss and diabetes drugs Wegovy and Ozempic brought by a generic drugmaker that is hoping to sell generic versions of the blockbuster medications. The office's Patent Trial and Appeal Board denied the requests by Mylan Pharmaceuticals, which is owned by Viatris, to review the validity of the Wegovy and Ozempic patents. Mylan had argued that the patents were obvious based on the anti-diabetes medication liraglutide and thus should be invalidated.
(With inputs from agencies.)