Many patients with early-stage breast cancer receive costly, inappropriate testing

EurekAlert, 24 May 2017
Author: Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
“A study from Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center shows that asymptomatic women who have been treated for early-stage breast cancer often undergo advanced imaging and other tests that provide little if any medical benefit, could have harmful effects and may increase their financial burden.”
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French drugmaker Servier to face trial over weight-loss Mediator

Reuters, 24 May 2017
Authors: Simond Carraud, Matthias Blamont, Emmanuel Jarry and Leigh Thomas
“The Paris prosecutor’s office said on Wednesday that drugmaker Servier as well as the French drug regulator should face trial over weight-loss pill Mediator, believed to have caused at least 500 deaths in one of France’s worst health scandals. Once licensed as a diabetes treatment, the drug was widely prescribed as an appetite suppressant to help people lose weight. The prosecutor’s indictment covers charges of misleading claims as well as manslaughter and targets 14 people as well as 11 institutions including Servier and the French drug regulator ANSM.”
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Deadly brain infection in German MS patient prompts Roche investigation

Reuters, 24 May 2017
Authors: John Miller, Bill Berkrot, Greg Mahlich and Lisa Shumaker
“A person in Germany treated with Roche Holding AG’s new multiple sclerosis drug Ocrevus has been diagnosed with an often-deadly brain infection after switching from another medication earlier this year. Roche said it was investigating a case of Progressive Multifocal Leukoencephalopathy (PML) in a patient previously being treated for three years with Biogen Inc’s Tysabri and who had received a single dose of Ocrevus in February. Ocrevus was approved in the United States in March.”
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Man XXX Herbal capsules pose a serious risk

TGA, 12 May 2017
Source: TGA
“Man XXX Herbal capsules pose a serious risk to your health and should not be taken. The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) has tested a product labelled Man XXX Herbal capsules and found that: the capsules contain the undeclared substance levodopa and consumers are advised that levodopa is a prescription-only substance in Australia. Man XXX Herbal capsules have not been assessed by the TGA for quality, safety or efficacy as required under Australian legislation, and the place of manufacture is not approved by the TGA. The investigations have shown that a number of people in Australia may have bought the product online.”
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How to rein in the widening disease definitions that label more healthy people as sick

The Conversation, 16 May 2017
Authors: Ray Moynihan, Rita Horvath
“Medical panels are constantly changing diagnostic cut-offs and lowering thresholds to classify many conditions and diseases. Those changes determine whether we or our loved ones receive a diagnosis that might help us – by, for example, giving us access to a life-saving treatment – or harm us – by bringing the anxiety, cost and danger of an unneeded medical label.”
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Toward Responsible Human Genome Editing

JAMA 2017; 317(18):1829-1830
Authors: Richard O. Hynes; Barry S. Coller; Matthew Porteus
“The speed at which the science is advancing raises important questions about human genome editing, such as how to balance potential benefits against risks of unintended harms, how to regulate the use of genome editing and incorporate societal values into policy decisions, and how to respect the diverse perspectives of individuals, nations, and cultures that will influence whether and how to use these technologies. A new report from the US National Academies of Sciences and Medicine addresses these questions and makes recommendations for the application and oversight of human genome editing in 3 major settings.”
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A Third of Drugs Have Safety Issues After Approval

WebMD, 10 May 2017
Author: Robert Preidt
“Safety problems emerge with nearly one in three prescription drugs after they’ve been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, a new study reveals. Researchers examined data on drugs approved by the FDA between 2001 and 2010, with follow-up through 2017. The investigators found that 32 percent of the drugs had safety issues after approval.”
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Billions saved because FDA didn’t rush approval of Alzheimer’s drug

Reuters, 10 May 2017
Author: Gene Emery
“The U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s decision not to rush approval for Eli Lilly’s experimental Alzheimer’s treatment solanezumab – a drug that turned out to be ineffective – may have saved American taxpayers as much as $100 billion over the past four years, an analysis concludes. The analysis comes amid pressure on FDA to use less-strict standards in deciding whether a drug should be approved. Some agency critics have called on the government to approve all drugs that are not toxic and let market forces determine which are best.”
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Blood disaster: Families search for the truth

BBC, 10 May 2017
Source: BBC News
“Jason Evans’ father died after being infected with HIV through treatment with contaminated blood. Now in what is understood to be the first case of its kind, Jason is taking legal action against the government for its role in his father’s death. More than 2,000 people – mostly haemophiliacs – have died after being infected with HIV and hepatitis C through blood treatments. The victims were infected over 25 years ago, in what has been called the worst treatment disaster in the history of the NHS.”
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J&J Loses $110 Million Verdict Over Talc Cancer-Link Claim

Bloomberg, 5 May 2017
Authors: Margaret Cronin Fisk, Tim Bross
“Johnson & Johnson was ordered by a St. Louis jury to pay more than $110 million to a Virginia woman who blamed her ovarian cancer on the company’s talcum products. Imerys Talc America, which provided the talc to J&J, was ordered by the jury to pay about $100,000. Imerys Talc is a unit of Paris-based Imerys SA. There are more than 3,000 lawsuits accusing the world’s largest health-care company of ignoring studies linking its baby powder and Shower to Shower talc products to ovarian cancer and failing to warn customers about the risk.”
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