Firing Doctor, Christian Hospital Sets Off National Challenge To Aid-In-Dying Laws

DENVER — A Christian-run health system in Colorado has fired a veteran doctor who went to court to fight for the right of her patient to use the state’s medical aid-in-dying law, citing religious doctrine that describes “assisted suicide” as “intrinsically evil.”

Centura Health Corp. this week abruptly terminated Dr. Barbara Morris, 65, a geriatrician with 40 years of experience, who had planned to help her patient, Cornelius “Neil” Mahoney, 64, end his life at his home. Mahoney, who has terminal cancer, is eligible to use the state’s law, overwhelmingly approved by Colorado voters in 2016.

Patent court to review Alexion’s Soliris patents on Amgen challenge

(Reuters) – The U.S. patent office will review patents on Alexion Pharmaceuticals Inc’s blood disorder treatment Soliris, after Amgen Inc challenged them, court filings showed on Friday.

FILE PHOTO: An Amgen sign is seen at the company’s office in South San Francisco, California in this October 21, 2013 file photo. REUTERS/Robert Galbraith

The move deals a blow to Alexion’s efforts to ward off competition for its top-selling drug, which accounted for nearly 82% of the drugmaker’s total revenue in the latest quarter.

Alexion’s shares fell 10.4% to $100.51, while Amgen’s were marginally higher at $208.21.

Oklahoma hospital used dirty gastroscopes on almost 1,000 patients; no infections reported

(Reuters) – An unnamed hospital in Oklahoma used contaminated gastroscopes in procedures performed on nearly a thousand patients in recent months, device maker Pentax Medical told U.S. regulators last month, putting the patients at risk of exposure to bacteria that can cause infections.

In a July 22 report here that only recently became public and was reviewed by Reuters, Pentax told the Food and Drug Administration that a hospital used up to four gastroscopes contaminated with bacteria in 998 procedures performed sometime last year through June 2019, when the problem was discovered. Pentax, a unit of Tokyo-based Hoya Corp, said it was not aware of any patient infections thus far.

CDC, FDA report 215 cases of respiratory illness possibly tied to vaping

(Reuters) – U.S. public health officials on Friday reported a rise in the number of cases of respiratory illness possibly related to the use of e-cigarettes from across 25 states.

The number of cases rose to 215 as of Aug. 27, from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) last update of 193 cases last week.

“While some cases in each of the states are similar and appear to be linked to e-cigarette product use, more information is needed to determine what is causing the respiratory illnesses,” the U.S. CDC and the Food and Drug Administration said in a joint statement. (bit.ly/2zwArPh)

Women may be missing out on outpatient hospital care in northern India

Women account for only a little over one third of appointments at a major hospital in India’s capital, New Delhi, highlighting extensive gender discrimination in access to healthcare services, researchers say.

Looking at outpatient visits to a large hospital in the capital, the analysis found that about half of the women who ought to have received care were “missing.” Women under age 30 and over age 60 were the most conspicuously absent, relative to their actual population numbers, the study team reports in BMJ Open.

Researchers discover unique biological marker for rare autoimmune disease

University of Alberta researchers have identified a unique biological marker that can be used to identify the presence of the rare autoimmune disease myasthenia gravis, predict the course of the disease and identify new, personalized treatments.

In a study published in the journal Metabolomics, neurologist Zaeem Siddiqi, graduate student Derrick Blackmore and their team used metabolic analysis of serum (blood with all cells removed) to find a unique pattern of metabolites–products of the body’s metabolic processes such as amino acids, vitamins or antioxidants–that is specific to myasthenia gravis.

In India’s Slums, ‘Painkillers Are Part Of The Daily Routine’

A man stands outside Dr. Sunil Sagar’s clinic, which caters to residents of Bhagwanpur Khera.(Saumya Khandelwal/The Guardian)

This story is the second in a two-part series. Read part one here: “In India’s Slums, Painkillers Part Of Daily Routine.”

NEW DELHI — In the crowded waiting room of Dr. Sunil Sagar’s clinic, in the working-class neighborhood of Bhagwanpur Khera, a toddler breathes from a nebulizer. Fever is widespread, and the air quality in Delhi has reached “severe-plus emergency.” The patients sit, motionless, but there is somehow tremendous noise. The clinic is a squat cement building draped in wires, a red cross on the door. Sagar sits behind a desk in a small, open room, as a squad of assistants escort patients to him. He seems utterly unflappable.

FTC probes marketing practices of e-cigarette maker Juul: source

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Federal Trade Commission is investigating the marketing practices of e-cigarette maker Juul Labs Inc sending shares of tobacco stocks down, a person briefed on the matter said Thursday.

FILE PHOTO: A Juul e-cigarette and pods are seen in this picture illustration taken September 16, 2018. REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun

Shares of Altria Group Inc (MO.N), which has a 35% stake in Juul, fell 4.1% to $43.96 in afternoon trading after the Wall Street Journal earlier reported the probe.

Juul has already come under scrutiny for its marketing efforts, including its use of social media influencers to promote its vaping devices, which have become extremely popular among teens.