Key Health Updates: Novo Nordisk Risks, Thailand's Cannabis Reversal, Avian Flu Outbreaks, and More

Latest health news highlights include FDA concerns over Novo Nordisk's insulin risks, Thailand's medical cannabis regulations, new avian flu cases in Australia, lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson, Medtronic's strong quarter, Biogen's acquisition deal, Pfizer's cost-cutting plan, and bird flu infections in U.S. dairy workers.

Reuters | Updated: 23-05-2024 18:27 IST | Created: 23-05-2024 18:27 IST
Key Health Updates: Novo Nordisk Risks, Thailand's Cannabis Reversal, Avian Flu Outbreaks, and More

Following is a summary of current health news briefs.

US FDA staff flags risk of low blood sugar for Novo Nordisk's weekly insulin

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration's staff said on Wednesday the use of Novo Nordisk's long-acting weekly insulin had an increased risk of low blood sugar in patients with type 1 diabetes, who are more insulin-dependent. Novo is aiming to become the first to bring to the market a weekly insulin product, offering an alternative to the daily insulin injections for millions of patients with type 1 diabetes and the more common type 2 patients.

Thailand plans to require permits for medical, research use of cannabis

Thailand plans to relist cannabis as a narcotic and issue permits only to those who grow and use it for medical purposes and research, Public Health Minister Somsak Thepsutin said on social media on Thursday. The comments follow a stunning policy reversal this month by Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin, who pledged to re-criminalise cannabis by the end of the year after it was de-criminalised in 2022.

Australia reports new avian flu case at poultry farm

A new case of highly pathogenic avian influenza has been detected at a poultry farm in Australia's southeastern Victoria state, officials said on Thursday, a day after the country reported its first human case of the virus and also a strain on an egg farm. The human case found in Australia is of the same H5N1 strain that has spread rapidly around the world but the ones detected on the farms in Victoria are of the different H7N3 strain.

Cancer victims sue Johnson & Johnson over 'fraudulent' bankruptcies

A group of cancer victims sued Johnson & Johnson on Wednesday, accusing the healthcare company of committing fraud through repeated and continued efforts to use a shell company's bankruptcy to resolve tens of thousands of lawsuits alleging its talc products contained asbestos and caused cancer. Five plaintiffs who seek to represent over 50,000 people who have sued J&J over its talc products filed the proposed class action in New Jersey federal court. They allege that J&J's bankruptcy strategy put billions of dollars out of the reach of plaintiffs in an attempt to "hinder, delay, and defraud these women and prevent them from ever having their day in court."

Medtronic beats fourth-quarter estimates on strength in medical devices

Health tech firm Medtronic beat Wall Street estimates for quarterly profit and revenue on Thursday, as a pickup in surgical volumes at hospitals lifted demand for its medical devices. Investor expectations around the financial performance of medical devices makers have grown lately, owing to a resurgence in demand as people, especially older adults, opted for medical procedures deferred during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Biogen in up to $1.8 billion deal as rare diseases take center stage

Biogen said on Wednesday it had agreed to buy privately held Human Immunology Biosciences for up to $1.8 billion, bulking up on rare disease medicines as its older multiple sclerosis drugs face tepid demand due to rising competition. Human Immunology's (HI-Bio) felzartamab has completed mid-stage studies for a type of kidney disease called primary membranous nephropathy, and in patients with a disease where the immune system makes antibodies that damage their transplanted organ.

Pfizer rolls out another cost-cutting program, sets $1.5 billion target by 2027

U.S. drugmaker Pfizer on Wednesday launched a new multi-year program to reduce its expenses by about $1.5 billion by the end of 2027, adding on to a $4 billion cost cutting plan it announced last year. Investors have fled from Pfizer as pandemic worries declined and billions of dollars in COVID-19 vaccine and treatment sales disappeared. The company responded with a $43 billion purchase of cancer drugmaker Seagen, the cost cuts, and an internal restructuring.

Tango Therapeutics to stop development of cancer therapy

Tango Therapeutics said on Thursday it would stop the development of its experimental cancer therapy due to liver toxicity experienced by patients in an early-to-mid stage trial.

Shares of the Boston-based cancer therapy developer fell 5.4% in premarket trading.

Second US dairy worker infected with bird flu confirmed in Michigan

A second human case of bird flu has been confirmed in the United States since the virus was first detected in dairy cattle in late March, U.S. officials said on Wednesday. The infection of a dairy worker in Michigan expands the outbreak of the virus that has circulated in poultry for years, though the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said the risk to the general public remains low.

Many US dairy workers yet to receive protective gear for bird flu

Many U.S. dairy farms have not yet increased health protections against bird flu for employees during an outbreak in cows, according to workers, activists and farmers, worrying health experts about the risk for more human infections of a virus with pandemic potential. Epidemiologists are concerned the virus could potentially spread and cause serious illnesses as farmers downplay the risk to workers while employees are not widely aware of cases in U.S. cattle.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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