Following is a summary of current health news briefs.
J&J faces U.S. criminal probe related to baby powder – Bloomberg
The U.S. Justice Department is pursuing a criminal probe into whether Johnson & Johnson lied about potential cancer risks of its talcum powder and has convened a grand jury in Washington, Bloomberg reported on Friday, citing people with knowledge of the matter. The Bloomberg report said the grand jury was looking into documents related to what company officials knew about any carcinogens in their products. (https://news.bloomberglaw.com/product-liability-and-toxics-law/j-j-denials-of-asbestos-in-baby-powder-spur-criminal-probe-1)
Opioid treatment may reduce contact with law enforcement
Opioid users who get treatment for their drug dependency are less likely to have police encounters or to be charged with crimes, an Australian study suggests. Treatment – which can include methadone, buprenorphine or buprenorphine-naloxone – also delayed the time to a first criminal charge, particularly when users spent more continuous time in a treatment program. But the benefit of medication dwindled with time and when users dropped in and out of treatment, the study authors report in The Lancet Public Health.
U.S. appeals court blocks Trump administration birth control exemptions
A federal appeals court on Friday blocked the Trump administration from enforcing new rules allowing employers to obtain exemptions from an Obamacare requirement they provide health insurance that covers women’s birth control. The 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia upheld a nationwide injunction that blocked the implementation of rules allowing employers with religious and moral objections to seek exemptions from the 2010 healthcare law’s requirement.
Early risers may have lower breast cancer risk
Women who like to wake up early every day may be less likely to develop breast cancer than women who prefer to sleep in, a recent study suggests. While previous studies have linked inconsistent sleep schedules and getting too much rest to an increased risk of breast cancer, researchers haven’t looked as often at how much women’s wake-up time might impact this risk, researchers note in the BMJ.
U.S. Democratic hopeful Amy Klobuchar proposes drug cost plan aimed at seniors
Democratic presidential hopeful Amy Klobuchar unveiled a new plan on Friday to help lower the cost of pharmaceuticals purchased by seniors in the wake of the White House scrapping its own ambitious drug cost plan. Klobuchar’s proposal, which is also designed to invest in research for a cure for Alzheimer’s disease and improving the stability of Social Security, would allow the government to negotiate Medicare Part D costs, which cover prescriptions for seniors.
Cargill shuts animal-feed mills in China as fatal hog disease spreads
Cargill Inc shuttered animal-feed mills in China in recent months partly because the rapid spread of a fatal hog disease has reduced demand, a company executive said on Friday. The closures highlight the pain for global agriculture companies from the outbreak of African swine fever in China, the world’s top hog producer and pork consumer.
U.S. federal judge orders FDA to implement 10-month deadline for e-cig applications
A U.S. federal judge on Friday ordered the Food and Drug Administration to impose a 10-month deadline for the submission of e-cigarette applications, turning the screws on companies like Juul Labs Inc whose products have come under intense scrutiny for their popularity among teenagers. The FDA last month proposed the shorter timeline after the U.S. District Court for Maryland ruled in a lawsuit filed by anti-tobacco groups that the agency had exceeded its authority in allowing e-cigarettes to remain on the market until 2022 before companies applied for regulatory approval.
Johnson & Johnson to test experimental HIV vaccine in U.S., Europe
Johnson & Johnson said on Friday it plans to conduct a late-stage study of its investigational vaccine for Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) in several countries across the Americas and Europe, including the United States. The drugmaker already has a mid-stage HIV vaccine study underway in five southern African countries.
Eton’s conjunctivitis treatment fails to win FDA nod; shares tumble
Eton Pharmaceuticals Inc said on Friday that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration declined to approve its treatment for conjunctivitis, sending its shares tumbling nearly 20 percent in extended trading. No concerns were raised about the clinical data in the application, and the company expects to respond to the FDA’s complete response letter shortly, Eton said, without providing more detail.
Indivior loses appeal to block generic Suboxone opioid treatments
A divided federal appeals court on Friday ruled against Indivior Plc in its bid to stop Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories Ltd and Alvogen from selling generic versions of its opioid addiction treatment Suboxone film that infringed its patents. The U.S. Federal Circuit Court of Appeals in Washington, which oversees many intellectual property cases, upheld lower court rulings that Dr. Reddy’s did not infringe two Indivior patents related to Suboxone, and Alvogen did not infringe one of those patents.