Health Highlights: July 25, 201107/25/11
Here are some of the latest health and medical news
developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:
Prices of Popular Drugs Set to Fall
The prices of a number of widely used drugs are expected to drop
in coming years as brand name patents expire and generic versions
become available, according to experts.
Over the next 14 months, patents on seven of the world's 20
best-selling drugs will expire, according to London-based
EvaluatePharma Ltd. That includes the two leading sellers, the
cholesterol medication Lipitor and the blood thinner Plavix, the
Associated Press reported.
Generic versions of other top-selling drugs for asthma,
depression, diabetes, high blood pressure, HIV, bipolar disorder
and high triglycerides will also be introduced on the market.
Over the next decade or so, the patents of about 120 brand-name
drugs will expire, according to prescription benefit manager Medco
Health Solutions Inc., the
FDA Cites Death Risk With Heart Drug
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, joined by drug regulators
in Europe, has issued safety warnings about the 2-year-old drug
Multaq, approved to treat an abnormal heartbeat.
A recently halted 3,000-patient study of Multaq among people
with atrial fibrillation showed twice as many deaths compared to
those who didn't take the drug,
The New York Times reported. The study had been sponsored by
the drug's maker, Sanofi-Aventis, which cited "a significant
increase in cardiovascular events," the newspaper said.
Multaq was approved in 2009 to treat short-term heart rhythm
abnormalities (arrhythmias) of less than six months. FDA records
show at least 241,000 prescriptions written since then, the
Sanofi issued a statement saying the "benefit-risk profile
remains positive" for the drug's currently approved use.
The European Medicines Agency said it was reviewing the data and
would offer additional direction in September, the newspaper
USDA Proposes Changes for Meat Additive Labeling
Meat producers would have to clearly specify which additives are
added to raw meats and poultry under a rule proposed by the U.S.
Department of Agriculture.
The department "wants consumers to know when there's less
chicken in their chicken," reported the
Additives such as chicken broth, teriyaki sauce, salt or water
would have to appear on the product's label. The department said
about 33 percent of raw poultry, 15 percent of raw beef and 90
percent of raw pork may contain additives. Ground beef would be
exempt from the new rule, the wire service reported.
Current labels aren't as visible or clear as the USDA would
hope. The new rule would require that additives be part of the
product's title, as in "Chicken Breast - 40 Percent Added Solution
of Water and Teriyaki Sauce," the
Reaction among manufacturers was mixed. A spokesman for the
National Chicken Council said his industry is divided on the issue.
The American Meat Institute called the proposal "wasteful," noting
it would lead to a rise in meat prices, the
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