Reuters Health News Summary

Following is a summary of current health news briefs.

Eli Lilly does not expect drug shortages due to coronavirus

U.S. drugmaker Eli Lilly and Co said on Tuesday it does not expect the coronavirus outbreak to result in shortages for any of its treatments, including all forms of insulin. The company said it does not source active drug ingredients from China for any of its approved medicines and that its insulin manufacturing facilities in the United States and Europe have not been impacted by the outbreak.

U.S. sues Mallinckrodt, accuses drugmaker of defrauding Medicaid

The United States sued a unit of the drugmaker Mallinckrodt Plc on Tuesday, accusing it of defrauding Medicaid out of hundreds of millions of dollars as a result of "meteoric" price increases for its biggest-selling drug, Acthar Gel. Joining a civil whistleblower lawsuit filed in Boston federal court, the government said Mallinckrodt ARD LLC violated the federal False Claims Act by withholding Medicaid rebates related to Acthar, which now costs nearly $40,000 per vial.

Global supplier India curbs drug exports as coronavirus fears grow

India, the world's main supplier of generic drugs, has restricted the export of 26 pharmaceutical ingredients and the medicines made from them, including Paracetamol, a common pain reliever also sold as acetaminophen, as the coronavirus outbreak plays havoc with supply chains. The Indian government urged calm and said there were enough stocks to manufacture formulations for two-to-three months.

'Perfect Storm': Washington virus deaths highlight risk at nursing homes

Less than a year after Constantine Valhouli moved his 85-year-old father into a Massachusetts elder-care facility, he is considering bringing his dad back home, his confidence rattled by a deadly coronavirus outbreak at a Washington state nursing home. The deaths of four residents at the LifeCare long-term care facility in Kirkland has stoked Valhouli's fears that the virus could spread quickly and quietly in facilities such as the home where his father resides after a series of strokes.

Lockdown: Not everyone unhappy about life in Italy's red zone

Life in quarantine is wearing thin for many residents shut off from the outside world in towns at the heart of Italy's coronavirus outbreak, but not everyone is unhappy. Marzio Toniolo, a 35-year-old teacher who sends Reuters daily accounts and videos from the so-called red zone, lives in a small house with his wife, daughter and grandparents, with other friends and relatives regularly dropping in.

U.S. coronavirus cases rise, three more die in Washington state as 1 million test kits promised

The number of people with the novel coronavirus in the United States climbed on Tuesday with Washington state reporting three more deaths, as authorities worked on preventing its spread and the central bank acted on Tuesday to protect the economy from the impact of the global outbreak. The Washington State Department of Health said the total number of confirmed coronavirus cases there now stands at 27, including 9 deaths, up from 18 cases and 6 deaths on Monday. All of the fatalities in the United States from the illness associated with the virus were in the Pacific Northwest state.

Last Congo Ebola patient discharged with end of outbreak in sight

The last patient being treated for Ebola in Democratic Republic of Congo was discharged on Tuesday, the World Health Organization (WHO) said, bringing the 19-month-old outbreak closer than ever to an end. The patient's release from hospital in the eastern city of Beni, feted by hospital staff who sang, danced and drummed on trash cans, marks the first time there have been no active cases since the outbreak was declared in August 2018.

Roche pushes to kick-start lung therapy Esbriet after big writedown

Roche has won U.S. breakthrough therapy status for Esbriet for unclassifiable interstitial lung disease (uILD), the company said on Tuesday, as it aims to lift disappointing revenue by expanding conditions for which it can be used. Esbriet, approved in 2011 in Europe and 2014 in the United States, is now used to treat adults with lung-scarring idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, which belongs to so-called interstitial lung disease (ILD). About 200 types of rare pulmonary diseases fall within ILD, marked by coughing and shortness of breath.

Coronavirus more deadly than flu but containable: WHO's Tedros

About 3.4% of confirmed cases of COVID-19 have died, far above seasonal flu's fatality rate of under 1%, but the novel coronavirus can be contained, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Tuesday. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO director-general, urged countries to prepare for patients with the virus turning up in their hospitals and ensure that health workers are protected.

U.S. cuts rates over coronavirus economic impact as global death toll rises

As the new coronavirus spreads in South Korea, Europe and the United States, the U.S. Federal Reserve cut interest rates on Tuesday in an emergency move to try to prevent a global recession with the virus taking a heavy toll on air travel, tourism and other industries. Despite the Fed's attempt to stem the economic fallout from the coronavirus, U.S. stock indexes were down more than 2%, safe-haven gold rose 3% and analysts and investors questioned whether the rate cut will be enough if the virus continues to spread.