Health News Roundup: J&J's medical device sales fall short, cancer drugs seen growing; Hungary reports H5N1 bird flu outbreak at poultry farms and more

Devdiscourse News Desk | Updated: 17-04-2024 10:51 IST | Created: 17-04-2024 10:30 IST
Health News Roundup: J&J's medical device sales fall short, cancer drugs seen growing; Hungary reports H5N1 bird flu outbreak at poultry farms and more
Representative Image Image Credit: Flickr

Following is a summary of current health news briefs.

UK smoking ban for younger generations passes first parliamentary hurdle

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak's plan to ban anyone aged 15 and under from ever buying cigarettes passed its first parliamentary vote on Tuesday, although dozens of his lawmakers voted against it. Sunak's plan to impose some of the world's strictest anti-smoking rules has angered some members of his governing Conservative Party, including former prime ministers Liz Truss and Boris Johnson, who say the state should not interfere in how people live their lives.

Explainer-Why are US pharmacy benefit managers under fire?

Pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) are in the crosshairs of Republicans and Democrats in Congress but have so far dodged any new litigation or reforms that had been targeted for inclusion in last month's U.S. government budget deal. Many lawmakers, drugmakers, and government officials have pointed a finger at these industry middlemen, suggesting they play a critical role in high prescription drug costs in the United States. The following is what you need to know about PBMs.

US committee finds China is subsidizing American fentanyl crisis

China is directly subsidizing the production of illicit fentanyl precursors for sale abroad and fueling the U.S. opioid crisis, a U.S. congressional committee said on Tuesday, releasing findings from an investigation it said unveiled Beijing's incentives for the deadly chemicals. China continues to provide subsidies in the form of value-added tax rebates to its companies that manufacture fentanyl analogues, precursors, and other synthetic narcotics, so long as they sell them outside of China, the House of Representatives select committee on China said in a report.

Judge temporarily blocks Ohio gender-affirming care ban

An Ohio judge on Tuesday temporarily blocked a Republican-backed state law banning gender-affirming care, such as puberty blockers and hormones, for transgender minors from taking effect later this month. Judge Michael Holbrook of the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas said that the two transgender children and their families who are suing to challenge the law, which would also prevent transgender girls from competing on girls' sports teams, would be permanently harmed if the law takes effect on April 24.

UnitedHealth to take up to $1.6 billion hit this year from Change hack

UnitedHealth Group said on Tuesday it expects the hack of its Change Healthcare unit to cost the company up to $1.6 billion this year but maintained its 2024 earnings forecast, suggesting a less severe impact of the cyberattack than many on Wall Street had feared. Despite the massive disruptions, the healthcare conglomerate beat estimates for first-quarter earnings as medical costs dropped from higher rates hit late last year, sending its shares up 5.3%. Through Monday's close, United shares had fallen nearly 15% since it disclosed the ransomware attack on Feb. 21.

Nigeria says no record of child deaths from recalled J&J cough syrup

Nigeria's drug regulator has no record of children dying or falling ill from exposure to a batch of cough syrup made by Johnson & Johnson in South Africa that was recalled last week, a senior official said on Tuesday. Nigeria's National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) announced the recall after laboratory tests found an unacceptably high level of diethylene glycol, which is toxic to humans, prompting regulators in five other African countries to also issue recalls.

Italy's Turin orders outdoor smokers to keep their distance

The northern Italian city of Turin has banned outdoor smoking unless other people are at least five metres away, in what Mayor Stefano Lo Russo called a "common sense" decision. "It is about respecting those who do not smoke, and in some ways also about promoting a culture of respect," Lo Russo, who is from the centre-left Democratic Party, told a local radio station on Tuesday.

Hungary reports H5N1 bird flu outbreak at poultry farms

Hungary has reported an outbreak of the highly pathogenic H5N1 bird flu virus at five poultry farms, the National Food Chain Safety Office said on Tuesday. Authorities said they had slaughtered tens of thousands of turkeys, ducks, and geese on the farms where the virus was detected. The outbreak was reported in the counties of Bekes and Jasz-Nagykun-Szolnok.

US FDA warns of harmful reactions to fake Botox injections

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday alerted healthcare professionals and consumers that unsafe counterfeit versions of AbbVie's Botox were given to consumers for cosmetic purposes in multiple states. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the FDA are investigating reports of harmful reactions among people who received injections of counterfeit Botox.

J&J's medical device sales fall short, cancer drugs seen growing

Johnson & Johnson's first-quarter revenue missed Wall Street estimates for medical devices on Tuesday and sales of its blockbuster psoriasis drug Stelara came in lower than expected as the company prepares for its loss of exclusivity in the U.S. J&J's large medical devices business reported $7.82 billion in sales for the quarter, boosted by strong demand for Abiomed heart pumps and devices used in wound closure surgeries.

(With inputs from agencies.)

Give Feedback