Health News Roundup: GSK says efficacy of its shingles vaccine remains high after years; Explainer-Why are US pharmacy benefit managers under fire? and more

Devdiscourse News Desk | Updated: 17-04-2024 18:45 IST | Created: 17-04-2024 18:28 IST
Health News Roundup: GSK says efficacy of its shingles vaccine remains high after years; Explainer-Why are US pharmacy benefit managers under fire? and more
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Following is a summary of current health news briefs.

GSK says efficacy of its shingles vaccine remains high after years

British drugmaker GSK said on Wednesday long-term data showed that its blockbuster shingles vaccine, Shingrix, had 79.7% efficacy in participants aged 50 years and above, six to 11 years after vaccination. The vaccine's efficacy remained high at 82% at year 11 after initial vaccination, GSK said, citing data from a long-term follow-up, late-stage trial that tracked participants for up to about 11 years after they were first vaccinated with Shingrix.

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 middle men, 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 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.

Arizona Democrats seek to repeal 1864 abortion ban, but need Republican help

Democrats in the Arizona House of Representatives on Wednesday will seek to repeal an 1864 ban on abortion that is poised to become state law once again, but they will need the help of some Republicans in the closely divided legislature. A state Supreme Court ruling on April 9 revived a ban on nearly all abortions under a law written during the U.S. Civil War when Arizona was not yet a state and women lacked the right to vote.

Eli Lilly's weight-loss drug succeeds in trials with sleep apnea patients

Eli Lilly's weight-loss drug helped cut the frequency of irregular breathing in patients with obstructive sleep apnea by as much as 63% on average across two late-stage trials, the company said on Wednesday. Weight-loss drugs such as Lilly's Zepbound and Novo Nordisk's Wegovy, called GLP-1 agonists, have already brought in billions of dollars in sales as treatments for obesity and diabetes. The treatments work by reducing food cravings and emptying the stomach more slowly.

US FDA warns of harmful reactions to fake Botox injections

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday alerted health care 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.

Sage Therapeutics scraps plans for Parkinson's drug after mid-stage failure

Sage Therapeutics said on Wednesday it will stop development of its experimental drug to treat Parkinson's disease after the treatment failed a mid-stage study, sending the company's shares tumbling 36% before the bell. Parkinson's disease, a progressive movement disorder of the nervous system, affects about 1 million people in the United States.

Abbott beats quarterly profit estimates on strong medical device sales

Abbott Laboratories beat Wall Street estimates for quarterly profit on Wednesday and raised the lower end of its annual forecast on robust sales of its medical devices, including glucose-monitoring products. Sales of Abbott's medical devices have been strengthened in recent quarters due to a resurgence in the demand for joint replacements as well as other surgeries delayed during the COVID-19 pandemic.

(With inputs from agencies.)

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