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Health Highlights: Nov. 18, 2019

Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:

Trump’s Pledge to Ban Flavored E-Cigs Goes Up in Smoke

U.S. President Donald Trump’s pledge in September to ban the sale of most flavored e-cigarettes to stem the rise in vaping among young people appears to be weakening.

Two months after he made the promise, Trump has yielded to pressure from lobbyists and political advisers and not taken any action on vaping, saying only that he wants to study the issue, The New York Times reported.

The proposed ban on flavored vaping products had wide support from health officials and others as an outbreak of severe vaping-related lung injuries has added to concerns about the teen vaping crisis.

On Nov. 11, Trump tweeted that he would be “meeting with representatives of the vaping industry, together with medical professionals and individual state representatives, to come up with an acceptable solution to the vaping and E-cigarette dilemma.”

However, one senior White House official said no such meeting had been scheduled, The Times reported.

In the absence of federal government action on vaping, several states have moved to ban flavored vaping products. That’s led to legal challenges from the industry and lobbying of lawmakers and the White House to prevent new rules that would affect adults’ use of e-cigarettes, The Times reported.


Bipartisan Bill to Curb Drug Costs Backed by White House

A bipartisan Senate bill that would curb prescription drug costs is being backed by the Trump administration as a new poll shows that many Americans think the White House has done little to tackle the issue.

The Gallup-West Health poll found that 66% of adults don’t believe the Trump administration has made any or very much progress in curbing the rising cost of prescription drugs, the Associated Press reported.

Months of talks between the White House and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Medicare price negotiations fell apart.

The Senate bill does not give Medicare bargaining power, but would cap out-of-pocket payments by Medicare beneficiaries and make drugmakers pay rebates if they raise prices too high, the AP reported.

There’s also a competing House Democratic bill, which would build on the Senate bill by also authorizing Medicare to negotiate prices for the costliest drugs.

Along with curbing price increases, the House bill would limit high launch prices for new drugs, and privately insured people would also be eligible for Medicare’s discounts, the AP reported.


Quest Beef Cat Food Recalled

Two-pound frozen bags of Go Raw’s Quest Beef Cat Food have been recalled due to possible salmonella contamination, the company says.

The recalled products were distributed to retail stores across the United States and can be identified by the following: UPC 6-91730-17101-8, Lot N128.

No illnesses associated with the recalled products have been reported to date, according to the Utah-based company.

Consumers who bought 2-pound bags of Quest Beef Cat Food should return them to the place of purchase for a full refund. For more information, contact Go Raw at 801-432-7478.


New Sickle Cell Disease Drug Approved by FDA

A new drug to reduce a serious complication of sickle cell disease has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Adakveo (crizanlizumab-tmca) was approved for use in patients aged 16 and older to reduce the frequency of vaso-occlusive crisis, a common and painful complication of sickle cell disease that occurs when blood circulation is obstructed by sickled red blood cells.

The approval of the new Novartis drug is based on the results of a clinical trial that included 198 patients with a history of vaso-occlusive crisis. They received either Adakveo or a placebo. The patients who received Adakveo had fewer health care visits for vaso-occlusive crisis (median of 1.63 visits a year) than patients who received the placebo (median of 2.98 visits a year).

Also, 36% of patients who received Adakveo did not experience vaso-occlusive crisis during the study, and it delayed the time that patients first experienced vaso-occlusive crisis after starting treatment from 1.4 months to 4.1 months, according to the FDA.

Common side effects for patients taking Adakveo were back pain, nausea, fever and joint pain.

Sickle cell disease is an inherited blood disorder in which the red blood cells have an abnormal crescent or sickle shape, which restricts the flow in blood vessels and limits oxygen delivery to the body’s tissues, resulting in severe pain and organ damage.

Sickle cell disease affects about 100,000 Americans, and occurs most often in black Americans, where 1 out of every 365 babies born have the disease, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“Adakveo is the first targeted therapy approved for sickle cell disease, specifically inhibiting selectin, a substance that contributes to cells sticking together and leads to vaso-occlusive crisis,” said Dr. Richard Pazdur, director of the FDA’s Oncology Center of Excellence and acting director of the Office of Oncologic Diseases in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research.

“Vaso-occlusive crisis can be extremely painful and is a frequent reason for emergency department visits and hospitalization for patients with sickle cell disease,” Pazdur said in a FDA news release.

Copyright © 2019 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

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