Following is a summary of current health news briefs.
States fight bonus pay for CEO of OxyContin maker Purdue
The chief executive officer of OxyContin-maker Purdue Pharma LP should not collect a potential $1.3 million bonus when he has been accused of contributing to the opioid epidemic, a group of state attorneys general said in a court filing on Monday. The attorneys general of 24 states said Craig Landau should not collect a bonus that would lift his pay to $3.9 million because of his alleged role in downplaying the risks of Purdue's drugs.
Powder Keg: FDA bowed to industry for decades as alarms were sounded over talc
At an invitation-only gathering late last year, U.S. regulators and their guests huddled at a hotel near Washington, D.C., to discuss the best way to detect cancer-causing asbestos in talc powders and cosmetics. The "Asbestos in Talc Symposium," sponsored by the Food and Drug Administration, was dominated by industry hands: Most of the 21 non-government participants had done work for talc companies, such as testing and serving as expert witnesses and consultants, symposium documents and other records show.
Ontario focused on rare disease drugs ahead of national drug plan talks
The Canadian province of Ontario will push for the federal government to tackle the high cost of treatments for rare diseases as negotiations over a new national prescription drug program are set to kick off, the province's health minister told Reuters on Monday. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's Liberal Party, which was reduced to a minority government following the October election, made a universal pharmacare program a key campaign promise of their re-election bid, without offering much detail on how it might work. The details will need to be negotiated with provincial and territorial governments, responsible for delivering most healthcare.
U.S. considers easing drug protection to break deadlock over trade pact: Wall Street Journal
The Trump administration is considering scaling back intellectual-property protections for biologic drugs by big drugmakers to help win Democratic support for a new trade pact with Mexico and Canada, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter. Democrats are pushing the administration to reduce the length of time that leading biologic drugs would be protected from generic imitators in the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, or USMCA, the WSJ reported.
Ardelyx's kidney disease drug reduces elevated phosphate levels in late-stage study
Ardelyx Inc said on Tuesday its experimental drug succeeded in regulating elevated blood phosphate levels in patients with chronic kidney disease in a late-stage study. The treatment, Tenapanor, showed a greater difference in serum phosphorus levels compared to placebo, the company said.
Could life insurance go up in smoke for some vapers?
Global reinsurers are stepping up their warnings to life insurer clients about the potential risks of vaping, putting pressure on underwriters to charge certain vapers higher rates than smokers, or even exclude them altogether. U.S. authorities said last month that there had been 47 deaths this year from a lung illness tied to vaping. The health concerns about vaping have grown despite evidence showing e-cigarettes help smokers to quit, and has led to bans in some countries including India and Brazil.
Slight hearing loss may affect kids' behavior, school performance
(Reuters Health) - Children with slight hearing loss may do a little less well in school and may be a bit more likely to develop behavior problems, a new study suggests. Hearing impairment that doctors and parents may have considered slight or mild "may actually be associated with both school performance and behavior," researchers write in JAMA Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery.
Climate change hits health, yet funds lacking: WHO
Climate change is harming human health as more people suffer from heat stress, extreme weather and mosquito-borne diseases including malaria, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Tuesday. The U.N. agency, in a report issued a day after a climate summit began in Madrid, urged governments to meet ambitious targets to reduce heat-trapping carbon emissions saying it could save a million lives a year through lower air pollution alone.
'Prediabetes' common in U.S. teens, young adults
About one in five teens and one in four young adults in the U.S. have slightly elevated blood sugar, sometimes known as "prediabetes," that can lead to full-blown diabetes, a study suggests. For the study, researchers examined data on blood sugar levels for 5,786 people ages 12 to 34 who hadn't been diagnosed with diabetes. Overall, 18% of the younger people in the study, ranging in age from 12 to 18 years old, had "prediabetes," as did 24% of the adults 19 to 34 years old.
Firearms most lethal suicide method by far in the U.S.
Firearms are by far the most lethal suicide method, with nearly nine out of 10 attempts being fatal, a new study finds. Pinpointing the most lethal method can help experts find ways to cut down on suicides, researchers noted in Annals of Internal Medicine.