News Wire

“I’ve fallen, and I can’t get up!” was first used in commercials for a company called LifeLine in the late 1980s and often as a punchline by comedians, but the deterioration associated with old age is no laughing matter for those going through it. That device depended on the patient contacting emergency rescue personnel.

Last week, HHS Secretary Alex Azar requested that Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb create a working group to find how to safely import drugs from abroad in cases when their U.S.-marketed equivalents undergo dramatic price increases.

The birth control device Essure is taking its final bow. The United States was the last market in which Essure, manufactured by Bayer AG, had been sold. As the Wall Street Journal reports, the company decided to stop selling the product because of declining sales. “The U.S.

The small biotech company Alzheon hasn’t given up on its big push to get approval for tramiprosate, its beta-amyloid-targeting drug that it says can be used for patients genetically disposed to Alzheimer’s.

In its continuing effort to ensure the safety and efficacy of compounded medications, the FDA yesterday issued a compounding risk alert about cesium chloride, which is sometimes used by cancer patients.

Merck will drop the price of its Hepatitis C drug Zepatier by 60%, the company announced yesterday. In addition, it plans to cut the price of “several other” drugs by 10%. In doing so, Merck went further than two competitors—Pfizer and Novartis—who said that they would not increase drug prices for the rest of 2018.

Location, location, location. That’s always been the mantra in real estate, but it could be adopted to health care, as well. Variation in cost for treatment has long been noted and bemoaned.

The attenuated Mycobacterium bovis Bacillus Calmette Guérin (BCG) strain has been used as a vaccine against tuberculosis for 100 years. But recently, researchers have been experimenting with using the vaccine as treatment for inflammatory and autoimmune conditions because of its notable anti-inflammatory properties.

Guideline.gov went dark this week. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) said it’s looking for a partner that can carry on the work of NGC, but that effort hasn’t panned out yet, according a reporter for the Sunlight Foundation’s Web Integrity Project.

Kymriah (tisagenlecleucel) and Yescarta (axicabtagene ciloleucel) cost $373,000 to treat adults with advanced lymphomas, while Kymriah costs $475,000 to treat acute lymphoblastic leukemia in children and young adults, according to Kaiser Health News.

The World Health Organization declared smallpox to be eradicated way back in 1980. However, many antiterrorism experts worry that radical groups can use the disease to wipe out populations who may never have been inoculated against it. That helps explain the attention the FDA received when it approved tecovirimat (TPOXX) on July 13 to treat smallpox.

An impurity called N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA) was found in several of products containing valsartan, which is used to treat heart failure and high blood pressure. But not all products containing valsartan are being recalled.

There will be less money for a program that helps ensure better participation in ACA plans during the open enrollment period this November. The Trump administration will fund the ACA outreach efforts for $10 million next year, that’s down from $36 million for 2018 enrollment and almost $63 million for 2017.

Pfizer blinked. President Trump and Pfizer CEO Ian Read had a long talk yesterday about the company’s decision last week to raise the prices on about 40 of the drugs it manufactures.

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