Health News Roundup: US FDA panel backs approval for Eisai-Biogen Alzheimer's drug Leqembi; Washington, New York breathe easier as smoke drifts further south and more
The agreement includes developing, manufacturing, and commercializing cell therapies that have the potential to be curative in type 1 diabetes and inflammatory bowel disease indications, the drugmaker said in a statement. U.S. government sets penalties on 43 drugs over price hikes The Biden administration on Friday announced it would impose inflation penalties on 43 drugs for the third quarter of 2023, having fined 27 earlier this year, in a move it said would lower costs for older Americans by as much as $449 per dose.
Following is a summary of current health news briefs.
AstraZeneca signs $2 billion agreement with Quell to develop cell therapies
AstraZeneca said on Friday it had signed an agreement with Quell Therapeutics potentially worth more than $2 billion to develop cell therapies that could cure autoimmune diseases. The agreement includes developing, manufacturing, and commercializing cell therapies that have the potential to be curative in type 1 diabetes and inflammatory bowel disease indications, the drugmaker said in a statement.
U.S. government sets penalties on 43 drugs over price hikes
The Biden administration on Friday announced it would impose inflation penalties on 43 drugs for the third quarter of 2023, having fined 27 earlier this year, in a move it said would lower costs for older Americans by as much as $449 per dose. Drugmakers hiked the price of these 43 drugs by more than the rate of inflation and are required to pay the difference of those medicines to Medicare, the federal health program for Americans over age 65.
Washington, New York breathe easier as smoke drifts further south
The mass of smoky air that choked New York, Washington and other U.S. cities earlier this week moderated on Friday as it drifted as far south as the Florida Panhandle, and conditions improved to "moderate" along most of the Eastern Seabord. The U.S. National Weather Service said air quality had improved in areas along the East Coast, but hazy skies and degraded air quality persisted in pockets of the mid-Atlantic, the Ohio Valley and Eastern Great Lakes region.
Exclusive-US seeks new suppliers of highly used cancer drug methotrexate in short supply
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said on Friday it is seeking new suppliers to ease shortages of methotrexate, one of the most commonly used cancer drugs, building on its push to shore up two other scarce chemotherapy medicines. An FDA spokesperson told Reuters the agency is looking for temporary importation options for the drug, which has been in shortage since March.
Respiratory disease outbreak in Chile strains pediatric ICU capacity
Chile has been hit by its most severe respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) outbreak in years, killing four infants and putting strain on pediatric intensive care unit (ICU) capacity. Yessenia Sanchez, the mother of one of the infants who died, said she waited from 8 am until 10 pm for an ambulance to transfer her baby to an ICU. In that time her baby had two cardiac arrests, said Sanchez, who is from Quilpe in the Valparaiso metropolitan area.
US Chamber of Commerce sues over government's drug pricing power
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce on Friday sued the federal government, challenging a new law that for the first time gives Medicare the power to negotiate drug prices with pharmaceutical companies. In a complaint filed in federal court in Dayton, Ohio, the chamber said the pricing program violated drugmakers' due process rights under the U.S. Constitution by giving the government "unfettered discretion" to dictate maximum prices.
Biden admin near deal to preserve preventive care coverage, for now
A mandate that U.S. health insurers cover preventive care like cancer screenings and HIV-preventing medication at no extra cost to patients could remain in place while the Biden administration appeals a court order striking it down, following a tentative agreement announced on Friday. The agreement between the administration and conservative businesses and individuals that sued to challenge the mandate is not yet final, according to a filing with the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
Walgreens reaches $500 million deal with New Mexico over opioid crisis
Walgreens Boots Alliance has agreed to pay $500 million to New Mexico to settle claims that its pharmacies helped fuel opioid addiction in the state by failing to stop illegal pill sales, lawyers for the state announced on Friday. The settlement, the largest obtained by New Mexico against a single company over opioids, came after a non-jury trial last year in the state's lawsuit against the company. The judge overseeing that trial had not yet ruled on the state's claims.
US FDA panel backs approval for Eisai-Biogen Alzheimer's drug Leqembi
A panel of expert advisers on Friday unanimously agreed that a late-stage trial of Eisai and Biogen's Alzheimer's drug Leqembi verified the benefit of the treatment for those at an early stage of the disease, clearing the way for traditional U.S. approval. All six advisers on the panel voted in favor of Leqembi for the treatment of the mind-wasting illness.
India study estimates 11% of population is diabetic
Some 11% of Indians are diabetic, a government study found, adding that diabetes, hypertension and obesity are much more common in India than previously estimated. The study of more than 113,000 people also found that around 15% of Indians were pre-diabetic and around 35% have hypertension. It was conducted between October 2008 and December 2020 across 31 Indian states and territories.
(With inputs from agencies.)