Minnesota sues opioid manufacturer Insys over drug marketing

(Reuters) – Minnesota on Wednesday became the latest state to sue Insys Therapeutics Inc (INSY.O), accusing the drugmaker of illegally marketing a powerful fentanyl-based pain medicine intended for cancer patients for other uses and improperly paying doctors to prescribe it.

FILE PHOTO: A box of the Fentanyl-based drug Subsys, made by Insys Therapeutics Inc, is seen in an undated photograph provided by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Alabama. U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Alabama/Handout/File Photo via REUTERS

The lawsuit, filed by Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson amidst a nationwide epidemic of deaths caused by opioid painkillers like fentanyl, added to the legal woes of Insys, whose former top executives have been caught up in a federal criminal investigation involving its opioid product Subsys.

Researchers uncover the cause of rheumatoid arthritis

By May 30, 2018

A team of researchers led by Osaka University have identified the cellular network involved in initiating and maintaining rheumatoid arthritis.

Credit: sciencepics/Shutterstock.com

The researchers suggest that this network can be targeted using a novel immunotherapeutic approach that will reduce joint inflammation.

In a mouse model of the disease, the team found out how Th17 cells interact with other cells at the site of inflammation to influence the production of inflammatory molecules called cytokines.

Chronic inflammatory disorders such as the autoimmune disease rheumatoid arthritis involve the action of various cytokines produced by the immune system. One such cytokine is IL-17, which is produced by TH17 cells.

Cameras On Preemies Let Family In, Keep Germs Out

Hospitals around the country have been upgrading their neonatal intensive care units to include personal webcams for each tiny patient. It’s a convenience for parents — and reduces worries about visitors bringing in germs.

The neonatal intensive care unit at St. Thomas Midtown in Nashville is the latest hospital to join the webcam wave, among facilities around the country from big cities to towns that are installing cameras over each infant.

At St. Thomas, Sherri Anderson has 20 years of experience as a neonatal nurse, watching parents run themselves ragged trying to be at the hospital every waking hour, sometimes commuting long distances.

Benefit Change Could Raise Costs For Patients Getting Drug Copay Assistance

Since Kristen Catton started taking the drug Gilenya two years ago, she’s had only one minor relapse of her multiple sclerosis, following a bout of the flu.

She can walk comfortably, see clearly and work part time as a nurse case manager at a hospital near her home in Columbus, Ohio. This is a big step forward; two drugs she previously tried failed to control her physical symptoms or prevent repeated flare-ups.

Portugal parliament rejects legal euthanasia in divisive vote

LISBON (Reuters) – Portugal’s parliament rejected on Tuesday a bill that would have legalized voluntary euthanasia for terminal patients in the Catholic-majority country by a narrow margin, but it secured enough support to ensure continued debate on the issue.

Parliamentary members attend a voting on legalizing euthanasia at the parliament in Lisbon, Portugal May 29, 2018. REUTERS/Rafael Marchante

Drafted by the ruling Socialists, the bill garnered 110 votes in the 230-seat parliament but was stymied by 115 opponents, with 4 abstentions, after a heated debate and a vote that required each lawmaker to declare his or her stance.

Roche, chasing Merck, notches another lung cancer win

ZURICH (Reuters) – Roche’s bid to keep Merck’s cancer blockbuster Keytruda within striking distance got a lift on Tuesday when the Swiss drugmaker said its immunotherapy Tecentriq mixed with chemotherapy boosted lung cancer patients’ survival.

FILE PHOTO: Swiss drugmaker Roche’s logo is seen at their headquarters in Basel, Switzerland January 28, 2016. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann/File Photo

Its phase III IMpower130 study, one of eight trials it has going against lung cancer that rely on Tecentriq, met goals of boosting overall survival and progression-free survival in the initial treatment of advanced non-squamous non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) compared to chemotherapy alone, Roche said.

Northern Ireland rally calls on Britain’s May to ease abortion rules

BELFAST (Reuters) – Hundreds of women’s rights activist rallied in Belfast on Monday to put pressure on British Prime Minister Theresa May to reform Northern Ireland’s highly restrictive abortion rules after neighboring Ireland’s vote to liberalize its laws.

Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May leaves 10 Downing Street in London, Britain, May 23, 2018. REUTERS/Toby Melville

Voters in Ireland on Friday backed the removal of a constitutional abortion ban by two-to-one.

That leaves British-ruled Northern Ireland as the only part of the British Isles with a restrictive abortion regime, and May on Sunday faced calls from within her cabinet and the opposition to scrap Northern Ireland’s strict rules.

India steps up hunt for origin of mysterious brain-damaging virus

MUMBAI/KOCHI (Reuters) – India began a fresh round of tests to trace the origin of a rare brain-damaging virus that has killed 13 people, a health official said on Monday, as initial tests on animals suspected of carrying the Nipah virus showed no sign of the disease.

People wear masks as they wait outside a casualty ward at a hospital in Kozhikode in the southern state of Kerala, India, May 23, 2018. REUTERS/Stringer

All animal samples, including those from bats, cattle, goats and pigs from the southern state of Kerala, sent to the National Institute of High Security Animal Diseases, in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, were negative for Nipah, said animal husbandry officer A. Mohandas.

New study finds no link between HPV vaccination and risk of autoimmune disorders

May 28, 2018

A new study in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal) found no increased risk of autoimmune disorders in girls who received quadrivalent human papillomavirus (HPV4) vaccination, adding to the body of evidence for the safety of the vaccine.

Human papillomavirus is the most common sexually transmitted disease worldwide, affecting 50%-75% of sexually active people. The HPV4 vaccine is effective at protecting against 90% of the strains that cause cervical and anal cancer. Despite studies showing safety of the vaccine, there have been concerns about a possible link to autoimmune disorders.

U.S. jury fails to reach verdict in latest J&J talc trial

NEW YORK (Reuters) – A South Carolina jury on Friday could not agree on a verdict in a case of a woman whose family said her long-term use of Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder led to her death from asbestos-related cancer, resulting in a mistrial.

A Johnson & Johnson building is shown in Irvine, California, U.S., January 24, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Blake

The case of Bertila Boyd-Bostic, who died of a rare form of cancer in 2017 at the age of 30, is the latest in a series of trials in the United States that center around allegations that the company’s talc-based powder contained asbestos.