Following is a summary of current health news briefs.
The head of the U.S. House of Representative's oversight panel on Wednesday called on three drugmakers to turn over documents as part of an ongoing congressional review over generic drug price increases and accused the companies of "apparent efforts to stonewall" the probe. U.S. House Oversight Chairman Elijah Cummings, along with U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders, the ranking member on the Senate Budget Committee, sent the letters to Mylan NV, Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd and privately held Heritage Pharmaceuticals, the lawmakers said in a statement.
U.S. budget deficit widens; spending up on health, military
The U.S. government's deficit widened to $120 billion in July, fueled by increases in spending on health care and the military, according to data released on Monday by the Treasury Department. The size of the deficit was in line with expectations in a Reuters poll of analysts.
Fewer parents smoke when pediatricians offer tobacco screening, treatment
Parents who smoke may be more likely to quit when they receive tobacco screening and smoking cessation treatment from their child's pediatrician than when they don't get this support, a new study suggests. "Most parents want to quit smoking but they don't often get the help they need from their own doctor," said Dr. Jonathan Winickoff, senior author of the study and a pediatrician at Massachusetts General Hospital for Children in Boston.
Teen vaping tied to marijuana use
Adolescents and young adults who have smoked e-cigarettes are more than three times more likely to move on to marijuana than youth who never try vaping, a research review study suggests. Researchers examined data from 21 previously published studies with more than 128,000 participants ages 10 to 24. Overall, young people who used e-cigarettes were 3.5 times more likely to use marijuana, the analysis found.
British hospitals may be poorly prepared for high casualty incidents
More than half of key hospital doctors in England who would likely be involved in responding to a major incident, such as a bombing or massive fire, are ill-prepared for it, a new report suggests. Worse, the new survey finds them to be less prepared than peers were in 2006, the last time similar doctors were questioned, according to the study published in Emergency Medicine Journal.
AstraZeneca scores win in race to treat ovarian cancer
AstraZeneca has made further headway in the race with larger competitor GlaxoSmithKline's to use a promising new class of drugs to treat ovarian cancer. Astra said on Wednesday its Lynparza drug, which blocks a cancer's ability to repair its genetic code during cell division, was shown to slow the progression of ovarian cancer that has started to spread in the body.
Senator Grassley seeks info on Novartis's Zolgensma data issues
U.S. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley has asked Swiss drugmaker Novartis AG to provide details on data manipulation related to its $2 million gene therapy, Zolgensma, by Aug. 23. The Republican, in a letter dated Aug.9 to the drugmaker's Chief Executive Officer Vasant Narasimhan, asked the company to provide all records on its internal inquiry into Zolgensma data discrepancies.
Canadian drug price regulator may be flexible on rare diseases
Canada's patented drug price regulator, set to gain new powers next year, may be "more forgiving" in setting price caps for drugs that treat rare diseases, the agency's executive director told Reuters, as some advocates warned the country's pricing reforms would hurt patients. The Canadian government announced final regulations meant to cut drug spending on Friday. The reforms expand the Patented Medicine Prices Review Board's (PMPRB) powers, and among other things give it the ability to consider the cost-effectiveness of medications.
Ebola 'no longer incurable' as Congo trial finds drugs boost survival
Scientists are a step closer to being able to cure the deadly Ebola hemorrhagic fever after two experimental drugs showed survival rates of as much as 90% in a clinical trial in Congo. Two experimental drugs - an antibody cocktail called REGN-EB3 developed by Regeneron and a monoclonal antibody called mAb114 - will now be offered to all patients infected with the viral disease in an ongoing outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
Body odor? Bacteria-embedded bodysuit may help
Deodorant not enough to stop your body odor? A new futuristic-style bodysuit with live bacteria embedded in it could help combat those unpleasant smells. The pale gray, long-sleeved "Skin II" contains healthy probiotic bacteria, reducing the smell of body odor, said its designer Rosie Broadhead.
(With inputs from agencies.)