Following is a summary of current health news briefs.
U.S. attorney general nominee open to reconsidering healthcare position
President Donald Trump's pick to be the next U.S. Attorney General, William Barr, told a Senate panel on Tuesday he is willing to reconsider the Justice Department's current position of not defending the country's healthcare law, commonly called Obamacare, in court. When asked by Senator Mazie Hirono, a Democrat, if he was open to reconsidering the position, Barr said "yes."
French court cancels Monsanto weedkiller permit on safety grounds
A French court canceled the license for one of Monsanto's glyphosate-based weedkillers on Tuesday over safety concerns, placing an immediate ban on Roundup Pro 360 in the latest legal blow to the Bayer-owned business. Germany's Bayer, which bought Monsanto for $63 billion last year, faces thousands of U.S. lawsuits by people who say its Roundup and Ranger Pro products caused their cancer.
China has culled more than 900,000 pigs due to African swine fever
China has culled 916,000 pigs after around 100 outbreaks of African swine fever in the country, the agriculture ministry said on Tuesday, as the disease continues to spread to new regions and larger farms. The disease has reached 24 provinces and regions since the first outbreak in August, roiling trade in the world's top pork market and related sectors. China slaughtered almost 700 million pigs in 2017.
European nations weigh impact of Brexit on drug supplies
Germany's drug safety regulator has concluded that Brexit will not put its patients at risk of losing access to essential drugs, while Ireland has drawn up a list of 24 medicines whose supply would be most vulnerable if Britain fails to conclude a divorce deal. Between 60 and 70 percent of the 4,000 medicines on the Irish market either come from or transit through the United Kingdom.
Family behind Purdue Pharma pushed opioid marketing, Massachusetts says
Members of the wealthy Sackler family behind Purdue Pharma LP pushed it to boost sales of OxyContin and other opioids even as questions emerged about the extent its painkillers were being abused, Massachusetts' attorney general alleged on Tuesday. Attorney General Maura Healey filed an amended lawsuit against Purdue and current and former officers and directors of the drugmaker that drew on years of internal records to reveal new details about the family's involvement in the company.
Hundreds of FDA staff return to work amid shutdown: Commissioner
About 400 U.S. Food and Drug Administration staffers have returned to their posts from furlough, including some food inspectors and support professionals, Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said in a tweet on Tuesday. Gottlieb's comments come as the longest U.S. government shutdown, triggered by President Donald Trump's demand for $5.7 billion from Congress to fund a wall on the border with Mexico, reached its 25th day.
One in five U.S. women delay birth control, increasing unwanted pregnancies
One in five American women don't start using birth control when they first start having sex, increasing their risk of unwanted pregnancies, a U.S. study suggests. Women who don't use condoms, birth control pills or any other forms of contraception when they first become sexually active are almost four times more likely to have an unwanted pregnancy in the next three months than their counterparts who use birth control from the start, researchers report in Pediatrics.
Walgreens and Microsoft partner to develop digital healthcare services
Drugstore chain Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc and Microsoft Corp said on Tuesday they have entered a seven-year agreement to research and develop new methods of delivering healthcare services through digital devices. As a part of the deal, the companies will focus on virtually connecting people with Walgreens stores and provide services on therapeutic areas ranging from preventative self-care to chronic disease management.
It's never too late to quit smoking before lung surgery
Smokers who'll be having surgery for lung cancer should quit smoking before the operation, and the sooner the better, a new study shows. Among patients who had surgery for lung cancer, nonsmokers had fewer complications than smokers. But quitting even just a few months before surgery reduced patients' risks of complications.
Gay fathers face stigma as parents
Even as parenting by same-sex couples becomes more common in the U.S., many gay men and their families still experience discrimination and are stigmatized by relatives, neighbors, salespeople and other members of their communities, a study suggests. Creating families has gotten easier over the years for gay men. Medical advances have made it possible for them to father children through surrogacy, and more adoption and foster agencies have encouraged them to become parents to non-biological children. And the U.S. Supreme Court legalized gay marriage nationwide in 2015, advancing legal parenting rights for same-sex couples with children.
(With inputs from agencies.)