Healthcare Headlines: FDA Recalls, Weight-loss Drug Coverage, and COVID Vaccine Updates

This summary covers the latest in health news, including FDA recalls of unauthorized plastic syringes, rising employer coverage for GLP-1 weight-loss drugs, and the FDA's updated recommendation for COVID-19 vaccines. Highlights also include EU's secondary cancer risk warning for CAR-T therapies, and a healthcare merger in Brazil.

Reuters | Updated: 15-06-2024 10:26 IST | Created: 15-06-2024 10:26 IST
Healthcare Headlines: FDA Recalls, Weight-loss Drug Coverage, and COVID Vaccine Updates
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Following is a summary of current health news briefs.

Merit Medical is recalling unauthorized plastic syringes, US FDA says

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said on Friday that Merit Medical Systems has initiated a recall for unapproved plastic syringes supplied by China-based Jiangsu Shenli Medical Production. The FDA in 2023 recommended against the use of some syringes originating from China as it investigated reports of leaks, breakages and other quality problems with such products.

Employer coverage for weight-loss drugs rises sharply, survey finds

About one-third of U.S. employer health plans are offering coverage of GLP-1 drugs for both diabetes management and weight loss, up from last year, according to a survey of global employers released on Thursday by the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans. GLP-1 drugs for weight loss grew as a portion of employers' overall medical claims spending to 8.9% in 2024 from 6.9% in 2023, the trade group's survey found. Only about 26% of employers offered the drugs last year.

FDA asks COVID vaccine makers to target KP.2 strain, if feasible, for next shot

The U.S. health regulator has changed its strain recommendation for the 2024-25 COVID-19 vaccines, as it asked manufacturers to update the new shots to target the KP.2 variant, if feasible, instead of the JN.1 lineage it sought to target earlier. The Food and Drug Administration's change in recommendation, in an update dated Thursday, comes even as Moderna and Novavax — makers of two of the three COVID vaccines — submitted their applications to the agency for updating the fall 2024 season shots with the JN.1 strain.

Second Chinese drugmaker seeks approval for Ozempic generic

A second Chinese drugmaker has applied for approval to sell a generic version of Novo Nordisk's blockbuster diabetes drug Ozempic in China. Livzon Pharmaceutical Group said this week its subsidiary was seeking approval to sell the drug to control blood sugar in patients with type 2 diabetes and reduce risk of major adverse cardiovascular events in those who also have cardiovascular disease.

US House approves defense policy bill with divisive provision on abortion, transgender troops

The U.S. House Of Representatives on Friday passed its version of the annual defense policy bill that included measures taking aim at abortion rights and treatment of transgender service members, divisive social issues which threaten to derail the must-pass legislation. The Senate Armed Services Committee will now work with the House to form a compromise version of the fiscal 2025 National Defense Authorization Act, or NDAA.

EU regulator requires secondary cancer risk warning for CAR-T therapies

The European health regulator said on Friday cancer cell therapies known as CAR-T treatments must include a written warning of an associated risk for secondary blood cancers in patients who use them and that patients should be monitored for life. The European Medicines Agency's (EMA) directive from its Pharmacovigilance Risk Assessment Committee echoes the one issued by the U.S. health regulator in April and follows a five-month safety review.

Brazil's Dasa, Amil to merge hospital businesses

Brazil's Diagnosticos da America (Dasa) and health insurance operator Amil have agreed to combine their hospital businesses, setting up a joint venture with almost 10 billion reais ($1.86 billion) in net revenue, the firms said on Friday. Under the agreement, Dasa and Amil will each own half of hospital chain Impar, a Dasa company that will incorporate hospitals from Amil-owned Rede Americas.

Novo Nordisk CEO to testify in US Senate hearing on high cost of Ozempic, Wegovy

The Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions said on Friday that Novo Nordisk CEO Lars Jorgensen has agreed to testify voluntarily in a hearing focusing on U.S. prices for weight loss drugs Ozempic and Wegovy. A U.S. Senate health panel vote that was scheduled for its June 18 meeting, to decide whether to subpoena Novo to answer questions about U.S. prices for the blockbuster drugs, is no longer necessary and will be canceled, Senator Bernie Sanders, who chairs the committee, said.

Healthcare firm Concentra reveals quarterly revenue growth in IPO filing

Select Medical's unit Concentra Group disclosed a rise in quarterly revenue in its paperwork for a U.S. initial public offering on Friday, as the occupational health services firm forges ahead with its listing plans. After being on ice since 2022, U.S. IPOs are on the road to recovery as stock markets scale record highs and the economy shows remarkable resilience, together giving companies the confidence to finally go ahead with their listings.

Pasteurization may not clear bird flu virus from heavily infected milk

In raw milk samples spiked with high amounts of bird flu virus, small amounts of infectious virus were still detectable after treatment with a standard pasteurization method, researchers said on Friday. The findings reflect experimental conditions in a laboratory and should not be used to draw any conclusions about the safety of the U.S. milk supply, according to the authors of the study from the U.S. government's National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) Rocky Mountain Laboratories.

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

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