Get your monthly Dose of the latest in pharmacy news. We deliver industry highlights straight to your inbox, so you never feel out of the loop. Click here to sign up now! From the new Alzheimer’s drug inspiring hope to the ban on “gag clauses,” this is what’s happening for July.
New Alzheimer’s Drug Inspires Hope
One in three seniors dies from Alzheimer’s or other type of dementia, and the disease is currently the sixth leading cause of death in the U.S. That’s why the pharmaceutical industry has has devoted decades to finding an effective treatment or cure.
Until now, we hadn’t made much progress. But a new drug BAN2401 developed by Eisai and Biogen has shown promising results in human clinical trials. The antibody slowed mental decline by 30% and removed amyloid plaques in Alzheimer’s patients given the highest dose.
There are some caveats though. For one, the study was conducted by corporate scientists instead of academic researchers and not peer reviewed. Second, the structure of the experiment incorporated a new means of measurement for mental decline, making the results incomparable with those of other studies.
No doubt, follow-up research is needed to test the efficacy of the drug. But these findings still inspire hope. As Maria Carrillo, chief science officer of the Alzheimer’s Association noted, “We’re cautiously optimistic. A 30 percent slowing of decline is something I would want my family member to have.”
Vaccine Scandal Ravages China
China is in turmoil after reports revealed that one of the country’s biggest drug manufacturers Changchun Changsheng Bio-technology Ltd. falsified reports about its inspection and production processes, subsequently distributing 250,000 faulty rabies, diphtheria, pertussis and tetanus vaccines for children.
Fortunately, none of the estimated 200,000 children who received the faulty vaccines have experienced adverse effects, but the company has been fined 3.4 million yuan ($502,200 USD) and may face criminal charges.
This healthcare scandal is one of many in recent years that has fueled public outrage and distrust in China’s corrupt health and food authorities. But the impact extends beyond the nation’s borders too. These kinds of catastrophes certainly deter China’s efforts to dominate the global pharmaceutical market.
The Ban on ‘Gag Clauses’
In an effort to mitigate rising drug prices, the Senate Health Committee recently approved a bill to ban “gag clauses.” As bill sponsor Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine) said in a statement:
Insurance is intended to save consumers money. Gag clauses in contracts that prohibit pharmacists from telling patients about the best prescription drug prices do the opposite.
Twenty-five states have already enacted laws prohibiting these clauses, whereas only eight haven’t taken legislative action. See where your state stands with this map from the National Conference of State Legislatures.