Press review

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More than 400 lawsuits against opioid manufacturers in the U.S.

Country : Germany, Spain, U.S.

Keywords :
MADRID, 22 Mar (APM) - El País on Sunday carried a lengthy story about more than 400 lawsuits filed in the U.S., claiming that manufacturers have deceived the public about addiction to opioid-based painkillers.
"The U.S. have declared war on the companies behind the slaughter caused by opioid use. A total of 64,000 people died from overdose of these drugs in the country in 2016," El País reported.
Almost every state in the U.S. has launched investigations into the opioid crisis, with a focus on pharmaceutical companies, and some plan to join a lawsuit. The government approves of this strategy and has not ruled out filing its own suit. The claim is that advertising of these products was deceptive and consumers were deliberately deprived of key information about addiction to opioids, the newspaper said.
The process brings to mind the court fight against tobacco manufacturers in the 1990s, El País reported.
Speaking to El País in a telephone interview, judge Dan A. Polste said: “This is a crisis, an epidemic. Everybody knows, everybody feels that way, so I think we must all start working together on this”.
The newspaper labelled Polste as “feared by the powerful pharmaceutical companies and admired by those who know about the opioid-related slaughter”. His job is extremely difficult, with a total of 434 lawsuits. He said: “My goal is to change the trajectory of this crisis. I never said it would be solved within this year, but some steps need to be taken. More and more people are becoming addicted. It is unacceptable.”
The two manufacturers mentioned in the story were Purdue and Johnson & Johnson, “accused of advertising their opioids for years in spite of them knowing perfectly well about the risk of addiction”.

Cardiologists will need to get pushy to prescribe Sanofi’s Praluent

Commenting on the preliminary results of the Odyssey outcomes study on Sanofi’s PCSK9 inhibitor Praluent (alirocumab), José Tuñón, coordinator of the research in Spain, told medical journal Gaceta Médica in a Saturday interview that it is now up to cardiologists to get pushy in order to be allowed to prescribe the drug.
Tuñón said the reason why Praluent and Amgen’s Repatha (evolocumab) are not commonly used in clinical practice is their price. With hospital managing committees in charge of authorising their use, some doctors prefer to prescribe medicines which are easier for patients to obtain. “These drugs are under-used”, he said.
On Friday, medical journal Diario Médico carries a story about the preliminary results of the Odyssey Outcomes trial, presented at the 67th American College of Cardiology’s Scientific Sessions in Orlando, Florida.
According to Luis Masana, cardiologist at Reus University Hospital, alirocumab can reduce by 15% the primary outcome - cardiovascular death, stroke, myocardial infarction and hospitalisation - for unstable angina compared with placebo, Diario Médico reports.

Antibiotics boost efficacy of immunotherapy in pancreatic cancer

Eliminating harmful bacteria with antibiotics can increase the efficacy of PD1 inhibitors in pancreatic cancer, daily ABC reports on Friday.
Pancreatic cancer is the only type of malignancy whose mortality rate is expected to increase this year in the European Union, together with lung cancer in women. This is what makes a recent finding by researchers at NYU School of Medicine so relevant. George Miller, lead researcher of the study published in Cancer Discovery, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research, said that because the pancreas is remote from the gut, it is considered a sterile organ, and there have not been many studies that looked at the role of the gut microbiome in pancreatic cancer, ABC reports.
The newspaper quotes co-author Deepak Saxena as saying: “We were very surprised when activity was detected in microbiome of human pancreatic tissues”.

EU approves Monsanto acquisition

Germany’s Bayer will have to divest in its crop science business and others in order to be allowed to close the $62.5 billion acquisition of U.S. agricultural group Monsanto, daily El País and financials El Economista and Cinco Días reported on Thursday. (APMHE 57398)
Once completed, the operation will create the world's largest seeds and pesticides firm, El Economista noted.
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