Health Law Weekly Roundup

Health Law Weekly Roundup: Week Ending June 26, 2020

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Published 2020-06-26


The Center for Health & Pharmaceutical Law has compiled a weekly roundup of interesting articles related to health law for the week ending June 26, 2020.

Recent Health Law Court Decisions

  1. Johnson & Johnson appealed a losing verdict in Missouri against patients who accused the pharmaceutical company of knowing about and disregarding the presence of asbestos in their talc. The appeals court reduced the amount awarded, but stated Johnson & Johnson engaged in “outrageous conduct” by discussing the presence of talc in internal memoranda yet failing to eliminate it in products. The appeals court also found that to have a deterrent effect on billion-dollar corporations, billion-dollar damages are reasonable. Read article, Judges slam J&J's 'reprehensible' talc defense, cut massive 2018 verdict to $2.11B >>

  2. A district court judge ruled hospitals are required to disclose health care service prices that have mostly been kept secret. The rule is to go into effect on January 1, 2021 and intends to better inform consumers’ purchasing habits. The court rejected hospitals’ claims that this price disclosure would be confusing to consumers and violate the hospitals’ First Amendment rights. Read article, Hospitals Sued to Keep Prices Secret. They Lost. >>

Medical Technology Advancements

  1. Inovio, one of the many companies seeking to develop a COVID-19 vaccine, created a machine to administer vaccines that runs on AA batteries. The device uses battery-operated electrical pulses to deliver the vaccine and will help administer vaccines in rural areas where patients cannot easily access health care centers. The U.S. Department of Defense has contracted with the company to manufacture the devices. Read article, Inovio, advancing COVID-19 shot, scores DOD deal to scale up needleless vaccine devices >>

  2. Purdue University researchers have developed a skin patch to deliver chemotherapy to melanoma tumors. Scientists claim the patch would reduce exposing the whole body to chemotherapy and instead use “nanoneedles” to systematically deliver chemotherapy to the tissues over several months. Read article, Patch for Melanoma Treatment to Make Chemo Easier, Painless, More Effective >>

  3. John Markman, M.D. of the University of Rochester Medical Center conducted a study showing that tanezumab, nerve activity-inhibiting antibody, effectively treats chronic back pain. Back pain remains one of the leading reasons people seek medical care and experience disability. Tanezumab inhibits proteins in the blood that cause sensitivity of cells in the nervous systems without causing serious adverse side effects that patients often experience from drugs like opioids or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Read article, New therapy provides relief in patients with chronic low back pain >>

  4. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is participating in the COVID-19 Diagnostic Evidence Accelerator, a project working to advance diagnostics development. The FDA aims to use real-time data to inform its future responses and emergency efforts. Read article, FDA Takes Additional Action to Harness Real-World Data to Inform COVID-19 Response Efforts >>

Health Regulations and Public Health

  1. The Department of Justice’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services will provide close to $42 million to state law enforcement agencies to assist the fight against illegal manufacturing and distribution of methamphetamine and opioids. This effort aims to reduce the rising drug overdose rates in the United States by supporting investigations surrounding these illicit activities. Read article, Department of Justice Announces $42 Million to Combat Illegal Manufacture and Distribution of Methamphetamine and Opioids >>

  2. The FDA launched a new project, Project Patient Voice, to gather and archive cancer patients’ reported symptoms during clinical trials. Historically, the FDA used patient-reported data in its drug approval process, but Project Patient Voice will make this information available to patients seeking to learn more about oncology treatment choices. This patient-reported data will serve as a supplement to clinical advice and safety measures. Read article, FDA Announces First of Its Kind Pilot Program to Communicate Patient Reported Outcomes from Cancer Clinical Trials >>

  3. A recent private study detailed barriers caused by COVID-19 that prevented patients from accessing medication and health care services. Primarily, the unemployment rate has significantly increased and impacted some patients’ ability to afford prescriptions. A number of patients reported abandoning their prescriptions or and others experiencing delays in getting their prescriptions due to pursuing affordability options. Read article, Research highlights critical barriers that can limit patients' access to medications >>

  4. The FDA issued warning letters to Hervert Pharmaceuticals, Viatrexx, 8046255 Canada, and World Health Advanced Technologies for selling unapproved injectable drugs labeled homeopathic. Injectable drugs are especially dangerous because consumers inject the drugs directly into the body and thereby avoiding its natural defenses to toxins. Some of the marketing drugs are used for serious illnesses, including hepatitis and tuberculosis. The FDA has not currently approved any homeopathic drugs for any use. Read article, FDA Warns Four Manufacturers of Unapproved Injectable Drugs Labeled as Homeopathic >>

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