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Reuters Health News Summary

Updated: 05-02-2019 18:28 IST
Reuters Health News Summary

Following is a summary of current health news briefs. EU health official slams Greek minister for defying smoking ban

The European Union's top health official hit out at Greece's deputy health minister for publicly defying the country's smoking ban, saying in remarks published on Tuesday the practice was shameful. EU Health Commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis, in Athens to mark World Cancer Day, was asked by Kathimerini newspaper to comment on a 2016 photograph showing deputy health minister Pavlos Polakis smoke during a press conference. Most U.S. kids not meeting sleep, exercise and screen time targets

Just one in 20 U.S. children and teens gets the amount of sleep, exercise and screen time that doctors recommend for optimal health, a new study suggests. Children and teens are supposed to get at least one hour of moderate to vigorous physical activity each day and limit screen time to less than two hours. Kids ages 6 to 12 old also need 9 to 12 hours of sleep, while teens need 8 to 10 hours nightly. Senator Sanders asks why drug, once free, now costs $375k

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders sent a letter to Catalyst Pharmaceuticals on Monday asking it to justify its decision to charge $375,000 annually for a medication that for years has been available to patients for free. The drug, Firdapse, is used to treat Lambert-Eaton Myasthenic Syndrome (LEMS), a rare neuromuscular disorder, according to the letter, made available to Reuters by the senator's office. The disorder affects about one in 100,000 people in the United States. Obesity-related cancers rising in U.S. young adults

Mirroring the decades-long increase in obesity rates in the U.S., cancers that are thought to be driven at least in part by excess weight are also on the rise among people under age 50, a new study suggests. Rates for six of 12 cancers related to obesity have been increasing in successive generations of young adults, with the sharpest increases in the youngest age groups, researchers report in The Lancet Public Health. Roche adapts newer breast cancer drug in face of Herceptin imitations

Swiss drugmaker Roche aims to broaden the use of its Kadcyla breast cancer treatment as rivals crowd into the market with biosimilar copies of its older mainstay Herceptin. Roche said on Tuesday it had applied for U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval for Kadcyla, a five-year-old drug, for post-surgical use in women with a form of early stage breast cancer who still show signs of disease after treatment with Herceptin and chemotherapy. Merck KGaA wins GSK for immunotherapy deal worth up to $4.2 billion

GlaxoSmithKline bolstered its cancer drug development pipeline, agreeing to pay up to 3.7 billion euros ($4.22 billion) to Germany's Merck KGaA for the rights to a novel immunotherapy. Merck will receive an upfront payment of 300 million euros for the drug known as M7824 and is eligible for potential development milestone payments of up to 500 million euros, the two companies said in statements on Tuesday. Powerful Senate committee invites pharma executives to testify

A powerful U.S. Senate committee on Monday invited seven pharmaceutical companies to testify at a hearing later this month examining rising prescription drug prices. Republican Senator Chuck Grassley, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, and Democratic Senator Ron Wyden, ranking member of the committee, invited executives from AbbVie Inc, AstraZeneca PLC, Bristol-Myers Squibb Co, Johnson & Johnson, Merck & Co Inc, Pfizer Inc and Sanofi SA. J&J, plaintiffs 'close' to deal on Pinnacle hip implant lawsuits: lawyer

Johnson & Johnson's DePuy Orthopaedics unit is in settlement talks to resolve the bulk of individual lawsuits alleging the company's metal-on-metal Pinnacle hip implants were defective and caused severe injuries, a lawyer for the plaintiffs said on Monday. Texas-based plaintiff lawyer Mark Lanier said lawyers for the consumers had talked to the company in recent days to reach an agreement to resolve the long-running litigation that includes more than 10,000 cases. WHO and vaccine group back "critical" cervical cancer shots

A vaccine given to girls to protect them against a virus that causes cervical cancer is a "critical" health tool and access to it should be scaled up as swiftly as possible, especially in poorer countries, cancer experts said on Monday. Figures from the World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) showed an estimated 570,000 new cases of cervical cancer were diagnosed worldwide in 2018, making it the fourth most common cancer in women globally.