Archive For The “Featured” Category

Lawmakers accuse drugmakers Mylan, Teva of ‘coordinated obstruction’

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Lawmakers accuse drugmakers Mylan, Teva of ‘coordinated obstruction’

U.S. lawmakers on Wednesday accused three major pharmaceutical companies of “coordinated obstruction” and “apparent efforts to stonewall” an investigation on generic drug prices launched in 2014. Chairman of the House Committee on Oversight, Elijah Cummings, D-Md., along with Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., sent letters to Mylan, Teva Pharmaceutical and Heritage Pharmaceuticals asking them to turn over documents, according to a joint statement Wednesday. The lawmakers said they decided to open an investigation following findings in a lawsuit filed by 44 states in May that accused the drugmakers and others of inflating drug prices and stifling competition for generic drug versions.

“Not only did your company’s apparent obstruction undermine our investigation, but it may have caused further harm to patients and health care providers by delaying the discovery of evidence about the companies’ price-fixing,” Cummings and Sanders wrote in each of the letters, dated August 13. Shares of Mylan and Teva Pharmaceutical were each down roughly 8% on Wednesday. A spokesperson for Mylan said the company, with the help of outside counsel, is investigation the allegations made in the states’ lawsuit.

“We have not found any evidence to corroborate the allegations. We are prepared to make our case in a court…

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NHS gets £8m payout from Aspen Pharma over anti-competitive practices

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NHS gets £8m payout from Aspen Pharma over anti-competitive practices

The NHS has been given an £8m payout from a pharmaceutical firm after an investigation found that it engaged in anti-competitive practices that pushed up the cost of a life-saving drug for the health service. It is the first time that the Competition and Markets Authority has secured such a payment to the NHS as part of one of its investigations. Aspen, which is also facing a fine of up to £2.1m, supplies the NHS with fludrocortisone, a life-saving medicine mainly used to treat Addison’s disease. It is paid for by the NHS.

“The CMA launched this investigation because we consider it unacceptable for the NHS – and the taxpayers who fund it – to have to pay millions of pounds more than they should for this life-saving drug,” said Andrea Coscelli, the chief executive of the CMA. The CMA’s investigation found that Aspen struck deals to pay two rival companies to stay out of the market for the drug, making Aspen the sole supplier and able to set prices without facing competition. During the CMA’s investigation Aspen made an approach to the regulator in an effort to resolve the case. The company has admitted that it was part of…

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Death penalty: Ohio lawmaker says to use seized fentanyl in executions

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Death penalty: Ohio lawmaker says to use seized fentanyl in executions

An Ohio lawmaker has an innovative solution to the state’s problem with securing execution drugs: use fentanyl seized by police instead. Republican state Rep. Scott Wiggam is working on legislation to allow Ohio prison officials to obtain fentanyl from drug busts. That option is far more humane than the electric chair or firing squad – options that states are considering as pharmaceutical companies cut off access to execution drugs. “This is a much less violent way than the electric chair and the latest lethal injection (Dennis McGuire’s 2014 death) that took 26 minutes,” Wiggam told The Enquirer. “This is a much more humane way.”

Fentanyl is a powerful opioid involved in 3,431 overdose deaths in 2017, according to Ohio Department of Health records . Ohio Highway Patrol seized more than 108 pounds of fentanyl in 2018, according to state records. Wiggam sent out an email requesting support for the proposal from fellow lawmakers, the Columbus Dispatch first reported . Gov. Mike DeWine has stalled the state’s executions while Ohio’s prison system seeks an alternative way to execute death row inmates. A federal magistrate compared the effects of one of the drugs used, midazolam, to waterboarding.

Abraham Bonowitz, of the national…

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Drug companies are putting a price on the lives of those with cystic fibrosis | Isabelle Jani-Friend | Opinion

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Drug companies are putting a price on the lives of those with cystic fibrosis | Isabelle Jani-Friend | Opinion

Placing a life-changing drug beyond the reach of NHS Scotland is cruel, says recent graduate Isabelle Jani-Friend. At 7am, I wake up and, while most people are starting their days, having breakfast and making their way to work, I – like the 10,400 people in the UK with cystic fibrosis – am beginning my daily treatment regime. For me, this involves a concoction of 30 tablets to fuel my morning, each with their own variety of debilitating side-effects, from sickness to dizziness and fatigue. The morning calm is disturbed by my noisy inhalation machine as I breathe in medications, while a positive pressure machine helps me cough up thick, sticky mucus from my lungs, which takes another hour. All in all, it’s a glamorous way to start the day.

And it doesn’t stop there. Every time I eat, I have to take enzymes to help me digest my food, and I take a regular dose of painkillers to help me get through the aches and pains. It’s a constant reminder of my disability and all the limitations it has on me living a “normal” life. After a long and exhausting day, my medication routine is repeated in the evening, with…

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MDMA, Used In Therapy, May Help People Heal From PTSD

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MDMA, Used In Therapy, May Help People Heal From PTSD

The first time Lori Tipton tried MDMA, she was skeptical it would make a difference. “I really was, at the beginning, very nervous,” Tipton remembers. MDMA is the main ingredient in club drugs ecstasy or molly. But Tipton wasn’t taking pills sold on the street to get high at a party. She was trying to treat her post-traumatic stress disorder, with the help of licensed therapists. Tipton was given a dose of pure MDMA. Then she lay down in a quiet room with two specially-trained psychotherapists, one woman and one man. They sat next to Tipton as she recalled some of her deepest traumas, like discovering her mother’s body after a murder-suicide. “In the embrace of MDMA,” as she describes it, Tipton could revisit this moment without the usual terror and panic. “I was able to find such empathy for myself. I realized how much I was thinking this was my fault,” she says.

The synthetic psychoactive chemical MDMA is emerging as a promising — if unconventional — treatment for PTSD. Scientists are testing how pharmaceutical-grade MDMA can be used in combination with psychotherapy to help patients who have a severe form of PTSD that has not responded to…

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Health advocates say schizophrenia should be reclassified as a brain disease

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Health advocates say schizophrenia should be reclassified as a brain disease

Mental health advocates are lobbying Congress to help them get schizophrenia classified as a brain disease like Parkinson’s or Alzheimers, instead of as a mental illness, a move that could reduce stigma and lead to more dollars for a cure. Federal health officials, scientists and doctors say conditions that cause psychosis, such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, are poorly understood and, in the public mind, often associated with violent behavior. Patients are more likely to be homeless, incarcerated, commit suicide and die younger than those with any other neurological diseases.

“Look at the disconnect in the way these patients are treated. It’s unconscionable,” said Raymond Cho, professor of psychiatry research at Baylor College of Medicine and chairman of the Schizophrenia and Related Disorders Alliance of America. His group is among those focusing on appropriators in Congress — particularly those who have championed mental health in the past — to include schizophrenia in a new CDC program that aims to collect data on the prevalence and risk factors of neurological conditions in the U.S. population. The findings could eventually be used to push the World Health Organization to reclassify the disorder — a complicated process that may take years. The…

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Opioid epidemic: Prescription pills were made and sold ‘like Doritos’

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Opioid epidemic: Prescription pills were made and sold ‘like Doritos’

Much of the responsibility for the opioid epidemic has been directed at Purdue Pharma, and not without good reason. Purdue introduced OxyContin in the mid-1990s and marketed it aggressively. Its sales representatives lied about its addictive qualities. Its executives downplayed reports of abuse. Its owners grew rich while thousands of people died and countless families were shattered. But documents pried loose last month, thanks to legal action by The Washington Post and the Charleston Gazette-Mail, confirm that there is plenty of blame to go around for the opioid crisis , much of it falling on other drugmakers and distributors.

The data, compiled in the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Automation of Reports and Consolidated Orders System database , shows that from 2006 to 2012 America was saturated with an astonishing 76 billion prescription opioid pills — about 230 for every adult and child in the country. Even as more people became addicted and deaths involving opioids skyrocketed (from 8,048 in 1999 to 18,515 in 2007 to 47,600 in 2017), more companies ramped up the business of making, distributing and dispensing generic forms of powerful painkillers such as oxycodone and hydrocodone. Among drugmakers, Purdue actually ranked fourth (2.5 billion pills) in the ARCOS…

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Primodos: Firms and govt face legal action over claims pregnancy drug ‘damaged babies’

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Primodos: Firms and govt face legal action over claims pregnancy drug ‘damaged babies’

Parents who say their babies were damaged by a pregnancy test drug have warned manufacturers and the government that they are preparing to take legal action. Lawyers representing more than 200 claimants have written letters accusing two drug companies and the UK regulators of being negligent and putting patients at risk. The drug Primodos was given to women in the 1960s and 70s. It was made up of two pills which would induce a period in women who were not pregnant. However, many families believe that if the mother was pregnant, it damaged or even killed their children in the womb. If successful the claim could be worth millions as the alleged victims all suffer with a variety of life-changing difficulties, including limb malformations, musculoskeletal abnormalities, heart defects and brain injuries. Some parents are also claiming still births were caused by the drug.

The proposed legal action follows a Sky News investigation in 2017 where we found documents in German archives showing manufacturers were warned by UK regulators that those using the drug had an increased risk of malformations – and that records from that study appeared to have been deliberately destroyed in order to frustrate any future legal action….

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Canadians don’t want Americans stealing their prescription drugs.

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Canadians don’t want Americans stealing their prescription drugs.

Earlier this month, the Trump administration released its official plan to eventually let Americans import inexpensive prescription drugs from Canada. This is a popular idea that conservatives long resisted, but it has recently caught on among politicians on both sides of the aisle thanks to the growing sense of crisis over U.S. pharmaceutical prices. States including Florida , Maine , Colorado , and Vermont have passed laws to let their residents buy medicine over the border . Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders recently joined a bus caravan of diabetes patients that traveled to Ontario in order to stock up on insulin. (Under current law, U.S. residents are allowed to bring back up to a three-month supply of medication from across the border for personal use.)

But while Americans might like the idea of treating their northern neighbor as one big discount pharmacy, Canadians seem to be less than thrilled by it. There has been concern that large-scale U.S. imports could exacerbate the drug shortages that are already a regular problem in the country. In July, 15 groups representing doctors, patients, and pharmacies sent an open letter to Canada’s health minister warning about the potential problems. “The Canadian medicine supply…

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Recto seeks probe on fake medicines in Philippines

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Recto seeks probe on fake medicines in Philippines

Citing a report by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, Recto said the Philippines led Southeast Asia in terms of reported cases of pharmaceutical crime, accounting for 193 of the 673 incidents reported from 2013 to 2017. Recto, who filed a resolution seeking an investigation into the matter, said the UN agency report was a cause for “alarm and action.” About P187 billion of the P372.8 billion “out-of-pocket” health expenditures of Filipino families in 2017 went to pharmacies, he said.

Genito-urinary therapeutic products (including erectile dysfunction products), central nervous system (CNS) drugs and anti-infectives were most frequently affected by counterfeiting while cardiovascular drugs, CNS drugs, and alimentary (e.g. nutrition supplements) and metabolism drugs were the most frequently affected by illicit diversion, the UNODC said.

Source: news.abs-cbn.com/news/08/12/19/recto-seeks-probe-on-fake-medicines-in-philippines

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