We should thank Martin Shkreli, the man who bought the only drug to treat toxoplasmosis and promptly raised the price through the roof. Why should we thank him? Due to his outrageous, cavalier attitude toward the issue and his failure to hire a PR firm to do the talking, he put Big Pharma and its ridiculous pricing policies under a huge spotlight.
Health & Medicine
In total, the researchers from the nation’s largest brain bank examined 165 brains of people who played football professionally, semi-professionally, or in college or high school while living. The brain bank is run as a joint venture between the VA and the university. They found 131 of the brains showed some evidence of CTE, including the 87 NFL pros.
A UK man got a big surprise when his joke backfired and he ended up in hospital. Daniel Medforth though it would be funny to take 35 Viagra pills at the same time. Boy, was he ever wrong. He got quite sick and ended up hospitalized for five days. All the while, “Little Daniel” had the worst case of penis insomnia on record, being “up” for the whole time. That’s right, Medforth had to contend with a never-ending supply of erections.
There is a new FDA committee on its way. The agency announced last week that it is forming the first-ever FDA Patient Advisory Committee on Medical Devices. The FDA hopes to get real patient input in the development, approval and monitoring processes it uses for medical devices.
The FDA issued its most serious level of recall, a Class I, on SynCardia Systems Total Artificial Heart Freedom Driver due to a potentially deadly defect.Part of the driver may fail, causing the artificial heart to stop pumping blood. This can result in serious injuries, up to and including death, if the patient is not immediately connected to a new driver.
Dr. Califf, a cardiologist, has been serving as the FDA’s deputy commissioner for medical products and tobacco since he joined the agency in February, divesting interest in his pre-FDA activity. Although he has donated his proceeds from private industry to nonprofit groups since the mid-2000s, Dr. Califf has taken some form of financial support from over 20 companies according to a disclaimer added to the end of a European Heart Journal article he penned last year. His financial disclosure form for 2014 alone lists consulting fees provided to him from seven companies, and his salary at Duke was funded in part by drugmakers Merck, Novartis and Eli Lilly.
Opdivo was first approved in Japan in July 2014 for the treatment of melanoma and nivolumab was approved by the European Commission this past July for the treatment of lung cancer. The FDA also approved Opdivo for the treatment of melanoma in December and lung cancer in March. In addition to being granted breakthrough designation prior to its two FDA approvals, it has also been given the status for the treatment of Hodgkin lymphoma.
XenoPort is developing a new psoriasis drug but has hit some snags. During patient trials, one-third of the study participants dropped out due to severe gastrointestinal side effects involving diarrhea.
The FDA cited various reasons for the violations in its press release. As an example, the agency cited that the filter on the Camel Crush Bold cigarettes contain a capsule that when crushed, releases additional menthol flavoring. The agency found that the feature creates a significant difference from products that existed prior to the law. The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids president Matthew Myers praised the decision, believing that the Camel Crush cigarettes “deliver menthol differently and at higher levels, have added sugars and other sweeteners, new filters, and tested differently for harmful and potentially harmful constituents.” According to Myers, Camel is the most popular cigarette brand among young smokers.