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Mylan NV said on Thursday it would reduce the out-of-pocket costs of its emergency EpiPen allergy injection for some patients amid a wave of criticism from lawmakers and the public over the product's rapidly escalating price. The list price of the drug will remain the same, but the company said it would increase the maximum copay assistance program to $300 from $100 for patients who pay for the 2-pak in cash or who are covered by a commercial health insurer. The price of EpiPen has skyrocketed to $600 from $100 since it was acquired by Mylan in 2007.
Climate change and the spread of invasive ragweed are set to double the number of seasonal allergy sufferers across Europe, with similar impacts likely in North America, researchers said Thursday. By mid-century, some 77 million people in Europe will be hit by hay fever misery, up from 33 million today, they reported in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives. "Ragweed pollen allergy is likely to become a major health problem across much of Europe," said lead author Iain Lake, a researcher at the University of East Anglia in England.
By Steve Scherer and Gabriele Pileri AMATRICE, Italy (Reuters) - The death toll from a devastating earthquake in central Italy climbed to 250 on Thursday as rescue teams scoured mounds of rubble for a second day in towns and villages flattened by the natural disaster. "People like myself have lost everything, but at the same time the fact that we have survived means we have to move forward one minute at a time," said Alessandra Cioni, 45, who managed to crawl out of her crumpled house after the quake. Prime Minister Matteo Renzi promised to rebuild the shattered houses and said he would renew efforts to bolster Italy's flimsy defenses against earthquakes that regularly batter the country.
Zika may replicate in the vagina for several days after infection, researchers said Thursday after using lab mice to study sexual transmission of the virus blamed for serious birth defects. Infection with Zika via the vaginal tract may be a robust source of infection "with potentially dire consequences," said the study by a Yale University team, published in the journal Cell. When pregnant mice were infected vaginally with Zika, the virus amplified and spread from the genitals to the fetal brain.
By Kathryn Doyle (Reuters Health) - Cigarettes are often cheaper at the very place that people shop for health supplies and fill medicine prescriptions, according to a new study in California. “Compared to other types of stores, pharmacies charged customers less for cigarettes, more for bottled water,” said lead author Lisa Henriksen of the Stanford Prevention Research Center at Stanford University School of Medicine in Palo Alto. Pharmacies represent 7 percent of the 380,000 tobacco retailers nationwide, Henriksen and her colleagues write in the American Journal of Public Health, online August 23.
By Lisa Rapaport (Reuters Health) - Paying smokers to quit and giving them more money the longer they avoid cigarettes might help get more people to kick the habit than cessation advice on its own, a recent study suggests. To test the power of money to combat addiction, researchers in Switzerland offered about 800 low-income smokers pamphlets and online cessation guides.
The Clinton Foundation, the family philanthropy of Democratic U.S. presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, should shut down or transfer operations to another charity despite its good work to avoid perceptions of "pay-for-play," The Washington Post and USA Today said in editorials on Wednesday. Despite plans announced earlier this week to reorganize the Clinton Foundation if Hillary Clinton wins the Nov. 8 election, USA Today said the global charity must close for the Democratic candidate to avoid any appearance of unethical ties. "The only way to eliminate the odor surrounding the foundation is to wind it down and put it in mothballs, starting today, and transfer its important charitable work to another large American charity such as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation," the paper's editorial board wrote.
Painkillers containing illegally made fentanyl, a synthetic drug up to 100 times more potent than morphine, are responsible for a surge in overdose deaths in the United States, health authorities said Thursday. Pop legend Prince, who died of an accidental overdose of fentanyl in April, is the latest high-profile victim of the addictive and often-counterfeit pills that are sweeping the nation. A new report by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found "substantial increases in fatal synthetic opioid–involved overdoses, primarily driven by fentanyl-involved overdose deaths" in multiple states since 2013.
The lawsuit, filed by Attorney General Lisa Madigan in Cook County Circuit Court, comes as Insys faces a number of state and investigations involving its drug Subsys as U.S. authorities seek to combat a national opioid abuse epidemic. "This drug company's desire for increased profits led it to disregard patients' health and push addictive opioids for non-FDA approved purposes," Madigan said in a statement. Madigan, whose office is investigating other opioid manufacturers for similar practices, said the lawsuit seeks to bar Insys from selling its products in Illinois and impose financial penalties on the company.
The embattled manufacturer of EpiPens said Thursday it would help extreme allergy sufferers meet the costs of the life-saving devices after a five-fold price hike sparked outrage. Mylan NV, which holds a near-monopoly on the manufacture of the epinephrine injectors, said it would expand existing programs to defray out-of-pocket costs but did not say it would lower prices. After a series of price hikes, a pack of two of the devices sells for more than $600, compared to less than $100 in 2007, when Mylan bought the rights to the technology.
Hong Kong authorities reported the city's first Zika virus infection Thursday, which they described as an imported case of the disease blamed for birth defects. The Zika-infected patient was said to be a 38-year-old female who had travelled to a Caribbean island, before complaining of pain in the joints and red eyes. "Initial investigations show that the patient had travelled to the island of St. Barthelemy in the Caribbean Sea from August 6th to the 20th...she remembered that she was bitten by a mosquito," Leung Ting-hung, head of the Centre for Health Protection, told reporters late Thursday.
TOKYO/LONDON (Reuters) - Japanese carrier ANA Holdings needs to replace damaged compressor blades in the Rolls-Royce engines powering its Boeing 787s, it said on Thursday, forcing it to cancel some Dreamliner flights over the coming weeks. The carrier said that under certain flying conditions the compressor blades in the engine's interior showed corrosion. ANA's Dreamliners are powered by Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 engines.
Forty-nine people were killed and 53 were wounded by gunman Omar Mateen before police fatally shot him after a three-hour standoff inside the gay dance club on June 12. U.S. authorities said Mateen was self-radicalized and acted alone, without assistance or orders from abroad, to commit the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history. "It was incredible to see how our community came together in the wake of the senseless Pulse shooting," said Daryl Tol, president and CEO of Florida Hospital.