Maraviroc appears to treat more than just HIV; Unnecessary antibiotics harmful to children

Learn about the biggest pharmaceutical developments and pricing stories from the past week in KHN’s Prescription Drug Watch roundup.

NPR: Promising treatment for memory loss could be HIV drug

An HIV drug, known as maraviroc, may have another unexpected use. The drug appears to restore a type of memory that allows us to link an event, such as a wedding, to the people we saw there, a team reports in this week’s issue of the journal Nature. (Hamilton, 5/28)

CIDRAP: Inappropriate antibiotics for children linked to adverse events, higher costs

New research suggests that the negative consequences of inappropriately prescribing antibiotics in children with common infections are not limited to antibiotic resistance. The study, published yesterday in JAMA Network Open, found that children who received inappropriate or non-recommended antibiotics for common viral and bacterial infections had an increased risk of adverse side effects such as Clostridioides difficile infection, severe allergic reactions and skin rashes. The extra medical care needed to deal with these adverse events resulted in about $74 million in excess healthcare costs in 2017. (Dall, 5/27)

CIDRAP: New ASPR report reveals frayed and fractured US drug supply chains

A new U.S. government report characterizes the risks in 100-day supply chains of 143 essential prescription drugs, including 86 priority drugs deemed essential to the health of Americans. The vulnerability of these supply chains, which underpins drug shortages, has been exposed by the pandemic and other recent natural disasters, such as the hurricanes in Puerto Rico. (Van Beusekom, 05/27)

Statistic: Counterfeit pills continue to circulate as new law takes effect

As far as Shane Jerominski was concerned, the many bottles of a widely used anti-HIV drug he dispensed in his pharmacy nearly two years ago sounded great. This turned out to be wrong. A patient then returned a prescription because it contained the wrong pill. It turned out that someone had tampered with the foil seals, replacing the legitimate pills with counterfeit drugs before resealing the bottles and shipping them to pharmacies across the country. (Silverman and Wosen, 5/31)

American Academy of Pediatrics: Postnatal corticosteroids to prevent or treat chronic lung disease after premature birth

The American Academy of Pediatrics continues to provide guidance on the use of postnatal corticosteroids to manage or prevent chronic lung disease after preterm birth (formerly known as bronchopulmonary dysplasia). (Cummings, MD, MS, FAAP and Pramanik, MD, FAAP, 5/30)

ScienceDaily: Scientists solve a long-standing mystery: Why do some asthma patients respond poorly to treatment?

Patients with the most severe form of asthma produce special substances in their airways when they take medications during an asthma attack that stop the treatment from working, according to a study where Rutgers scientists have collaborated with researchers from Genentech, a member of the Roche group. (Rutgers University, 5/30)

FiercePharma: Priority Review of Sanofi’s Dupixent for Prurigo Nodularis

Sanofi and Regeneron’s Dupixent is on fire. A week after getting the first FDA approval for eosinophilic esophagitis, the drug gained priority review for prurigo nodularis. If it wins the agency’s blessing, Dupixent would be the first FDA-approved treatment for the disease. The agency’s target date for a decision is Sept. 30, Sanofi said Tuesday. (Becker, 5/30)

Reuters: FDA presses trial pause for over-the-counter version of anti-impotence drug Cialis

The US health regulator has suspended a trial to assess the switch from prescription erectile dysfunction drug Cialis to an over-the-counter (OTC) treatment, French drugmaker Sanofi (SASY.PA) said on Monday. The pause is linked to concerns about the way the trial protocol was designed, the company said, adding that no patients had so far been recruited for the study. (Hummel and Grover, 5/30)

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