Health News Roundup: Japan to buy 1.4 million doses of Daiichi Sankyo COVID vaccine; Britain taking 'leisurely' approach to tackling obesity, say lawmakers and more
Reyes' family continued his lawsuit after he died in 2020. US FDA approves AstraZeneca's breast cancer drug combination The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Thursday approved AstraZeneca's Truqap in combination with an older drug, providing another treatment option for patients with the most common type of breast cancer.
Following is a summary of current health news briefs.
Japan to buy 1.4 million doses of Daiichi Sankyo COVID vaccine
Japan's health ministry said on Friday it agreed to buy 1.4 million doses of Daiichi Sankyo's updated COVID-19 vaccine. The purchase is contingent on approval of the shot formulated for the XBB.1.5 Omicron subvariant of the virus.
Britain taking 'leisurely' approach to tackling obesity, say lawmakers
Britain's government is taking a "leisurely" approach to tackling unhealthy eating habits and needs to do more to make sure people can get hold of good, affordable food, lawmakers said on Friday. The members of a cross-party committee said they were particularly disappointed by the government's refusal to commit to commissioning a report looking into the possibility of taxing food with high levels of sugar and salt.
CDC expedites release of 77,000 additional doses of Sanofi-AstraZeneca's RSV drug
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Thursday it has expedited the release of more than 77,000 additional doses of Sanofi and AstraZeneca's respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) drug Beyfortus. The additional doses, which the CDC said will be distributed immediately to physicians and hospitals, will help improve the availability of the drug at a time when a surge in cases of the disease is outpacing supply.
Walgreens to close nearly all pharmacies on Thanksgiving for first time
Walgreens Boots Alliance will close nearly all of its stores and pharmacies on Thanksgiving Day for the first time in the chain's history, amid pushback from pharmacists and technicians over poor work conditions and under-staffing. Peer CVS Health also said it plans to shut all of its non-24-hour pharmacy locations early next Thursday, while Rite Aid said its pharmacies will be closed but retail stores will remain open.
J&J settles first talc cases to go to trial after failed bankruptcies
Johnson & Johnson on Thursday said it has settled two lawsuits claiming its talc products caused cancer, the first such cases to go to trial since a federal court rejected the company's plan to move its talc liabilities into bankruptcy court. The settlements resolved lawsuits brought by two men, Rosalino Reyes and Marlin Eagles, who said they developed mesothelioma related to asbestos in J&J talc powder, and was part of a broader deal to settle all talc cases brought by the law firm representing them, Kazan, McClain, Satterley & Greenwood, the company said. Reyes' family continued his lawsuit after he died in 2020.
US FDA approves AstraZeneca's breast cancer drug combination
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Thursday approved AstraZeneca's Truqap in combination with an older drug, providing another treatment option for patients with the most common type of breast cancer. The FDA decision allows use of the drug, chemically known as capivasertib, in combination with the British drugmaker's older cancer treatment faslodex.
No more needles? Gates Foundation funds patch-style vaccine technology
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has given $23.6 million to U.S.-based life science company Micron Biomedical to fund the first ever mass production of needle-free vaccine technology. The technology works by delivering the vaccine via dissolvable microneedles attached to the skin on a patch-like device.
FDA panel urges Acrotech to speed up study on cancer drugs
A panel of independent experts to the U.S. health regulator urged Acrotech Biopharma to work with the agency to bring forward the date for releasing trial data that could confirm benefits of the company's blood cancer drugs. The drugs, Folotyn and Beleodaq, have already been on the market for nearly a decade or more. They were approved under the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's accelerated pathway in 2009 and 2014, respectively, for treating a rare form of blood cancer.
UK authorises gene therapy for blood disorders in world first
Britain has authorised a gene therapy that aims to cure sickle-cell disease and another type of inherited blood disorder for patients aged 12 and over, the country's medical regulator said on Thursday, becoming the first in the world to do so. Casgevy is the first medicine to be licensed that uses the gene-editing tool CRISPR, which won its inventors the Nobel Prize in 2020, Britain's Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) said.
Bankrupt Rite Aid sues US Justice Dept to stop opioid lawsuit
Rite Aid sued the U.S. Department of Justice on Thursday, seeking to block a lawsuit alleging that the bankrupt pharmacy chain ignored red flags and illegally filled hundreds of thousands of prescriptions for addictive opioid medication. The DOJ, which sued Rite Aid in March, agreed only to a "brief pause" of its lawsuit after Rite Aid went bankrupt last month, a position that threatens to undermine the company's restructuring efforts, Rite Aid said in a complaint filed on Thursday in New Jersey bankruptcy court.
(With inputs from agencies.)