Health News Roundup: Croatia reports bird flu outbreak on poultry farm; European Patent Office declares Moderna mRNA patent invalid and more
Makers of medical products used in bariatric surgery and glucose-monitoring devices have been trying to ease investor concerns over a potential hit to demand from the rising popularity of new GLP-1 drugs like Novo Nordisk's Ozempic and Eli Lilly's Mounjaro. Texas AG sues Pfizer over quality-control lapses in kids' ADHD drug Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton accused Pfizer and its supplier Tris Pharma of providing children's ADHD medicine that it knew might be ineffective to the state's Medicaid insurance program for low-income people, in a lawsuit unsealed on Monday.
Following is a summary of current health news briefs.
Monsanto hit with $165 million verdict over PCBs in Seattle school
A U.S. jury has ordered Bayer's Monsanto to pay $165 million to employees of a school northeast of Seattle who claimed chemicals made by the company called polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs, leaked from light fixtures and got them sick. The Washington state court jury found the company liable for selling products containing PCBs used in the Sky Valley Education Center in Monroe, Washington, that were not safe, and did not include adequate warnings. The award included nearly $50 million in compensatory damages, and $115 million in punitive damages.
European Patent Office declares Moderna mRNA patent invalid
The European Patent Office declared a contested mRNA patent owned by Moderna invalid, the office said on Tuesday, handing a win to BioNTech and its partner Pfizer in a patent dispute between the two coronavirus vaccine makers. Moderna said in a statement that it disagreed with the office's decision and would lodge an appeal.
Indian researchers find no link between sudden death and COVID shots
Indian researchers found no evidence that COVID-19 vaccination was behind "unexplained sudden deaths", a medical organisation said on Tuesday, instead pointing to the disease itself, binge drinking and intense exercise as risk factors. The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) conducted a study following what it called "anecdotal reports about sudden unexplained deaths among apparently healthy adults" aged 18 to 45 between October 2021 and March 2023.
Medtronic shrugs off concerns over newer weight-loss drugs, raises annual forecast
Medtronic raised its annual earnings forecast on Tuesday as strong sales in its surgical and diabetes units allayed concerns about the impact of new diabetes and weight-loss drugs on long-term growth, sending its shares up nearly 4% in morning trade. Makers of medical products used in bariatric surgery and glucose-monitoring devices have been trying to ease investor concerns over a potential hit to demand from the rising popularity of new GLP-1 drugs like Novo Nordisk's Ozempic and Eli Lilly's Mounjaro.
Texas AG sues Pfizer over quality-control lapses in kids' ADHD drug
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton accused Pfizer and its supplier Tris Pharma of providing children's ADHD medicine that it knew might be ineffective to the state's Medicaid insurance program for low-income people, in a lawsuit unsealed on Monday. The lawsuit, filed in Harrison County, Texas District Court, alleges that Pfizer and Tris manipulated quality-control testing for the drug Quillivant XR in order to obtain passing results from tests it was required to perform under federal law between 2012 and 2018. Properly done tests frequently showed that the drug failed to dissolve as it was supposed to, a sign that it would not be released in the body as expected, the lawsuit said.
Tema ETFs hops on weight-loss drug frenzy with its new cardiovascular fund
Tema ETFs has launched a new exchange traded fund (ETF) that tracks popular drugmakers like Novo Nordisk and Eli Lilly, aiming to tap into growing demand for their weight-loss and diabetes drugs. The Tema Cardiovascular & Metabolic ETF invests in companies tackling diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular diseases, according to the New York-headquartered platform's website.
Croatia reports bird flu outbreak on poultry farm
Croatia has reported an outbreak of the highly pathogenic H5N1 bird flu virus on a poultry farm, the World Organisation for Animal Health (WOAH) said on Tuesday. The outbreak infected five poultry among a flock of 19,600 on a farm in the county of Brodsko-Posavska near the Bosnian border, the Paris-based WOAH said in a report, citing Croatian authorities.
Researchers return to Alzheimer's vaccines, buoyed by recent drug success
Breakthrough Alzheimer’s treatments that remove toxic proteins from the brain have revived interest in vaccines to treat the memory-robbing disease, potentially offering a cheaper, easy-to-administer option for millions of people, according to interviews with 10 scientists and company executives. Clinical trials are underway or completed for at least seven Alzheimer’s vaccines designed to harness the immune system to rid the brain of the disease-related proteins beta amyloid or tau, a review of the U.S. government’s ClinicalTrials.gov database found. More are on the way.
BeiGene to buy global rights to Ensem's experimental cancer therapy
BeiGene said on Tuesday it would buy the global license for a cancer therapy that is ready to enter early-stage trial from U.S.-based biotech company Ensem Therapeutics. The Hong Kong-listed company will work with Ensem to bring the therapy, which works by blocking the enzyme, cyclin-dependent kinase 2, involved in cell growth, to trials.
Novo rations Ozempic starter kits amid surge in use for weight loss
Novo Nordisk will ration starter kits of Ozempic in Europe and reduce supplies of another diabetes drug, Victoza, to prioritise producing Ozempic, which has seen a surge in demand from people using it to lose weight. Ozempic contains semaglutide, an ingredient in Novo's hugely popular anti-obesity drug Wegovy. Ozempic is not officially approved to treat obesity, but that hasn't held back demand.
(With inputs from agencies.)