Following is a summary of current health news briefs.
China to use drug bulk-buy program to close price gap
China will use its national drug bulk-buy scheme to lower the price of drugs currently sold at higher prices compared with other markets, it said in an official statement. The move could force international drugmakers to further cut prices and enable copycat medicines to replace imported off-patent brands at faster pace.
Fired Zimbabwe state doctors reject offer to return to work
Zimbabwe state doctors who were fired for going on strike have rejected a government offer to return to work, their union said on Friday. The doctors went on strike on Sept.3 to protest against poor wages, in some cases less than US$100 a month.
Short sleep after menopause linked to weaker bones
(Reuters Health) - Bones may age faster in older women who get too little sleep, a U.S. study suggests. Based on data from nearly 11,000 participants in a long-term study, researchers found that postmenopausal women who slept less than five hours a night were more likely to have low bone mass than those who averaged seven hours sleep. Short sleepers were also up to twice as likely to have osteoporosis of the hip and spine, according to the report in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research.
Drinking-related liver disease and deaths on the rise in U.S.
(Reuters Health) - Americans today are expected to live shorter lives than just a few years ago, in contrast with trends seen in other developed nations, and rising deaths from alcohol-related liver disease may be partly to blame, researchers say. Analyzing data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, they found that U.S. deaths from alcohol-related liver disease (ALD) are at their highest levels since 1999 and have risen every year since 2006 in nearly every racial, ethnic and age group.
Fatal attacks on Congo clinics risk resurgence of Ebola epidemic
International organizations warned on Friday of a potential resurgence of Ebola in Congo after deadly militia attacks on health centers forced aid groups to suspend operations and withdraw staff from the epidemic's last strongholds. Mai Mai militia fighters killed four people and injured several others at two Ebola centers on Thursday in the worst yet of violence hampering efforts to tame the outbreak in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
Samoa measles toll hits 42 as nations dispatch medical teams, supplies
More nations were flying medical staff and supplies to Samoa on Friday to battle a measles outbreak that prompted the Pacific island nation to declare a state of emergency this month, as the death toll rose to 42, most of them children younger than four. A significant drop in immunisation over the last few years has made Samoa highly vulnerable to outbreaks of the disease, with the World Health Organisation (WHO) saying vaccine coverage is just about 31% there.
Morphosys CFO says tafasitamab drug sales potential above $1 billion: magazine
German biotech company Morphosys' tafasitamab, the group's most advanced drug which is currently being tested, has sales potential of significantly more than $1 billion a year, its finance chief said in remarks to a magazine. "Analysts estimate sales at between half a billion to $1 billion per year. If further indications are added, for example additional forms of leukaemia, they might be significantly higher than that," Jens Holstein told Germany's Euro am Sonntag.
AstraZeneca's Imfinzi gets speedy FDA review for small cell lung cancer
British drugmaker AstraZeneca Plc said on Friday its immunotherapy cancer treatment Imfinzi has been granted a speedy review by the U.S. medicines watchdog for the treatment of a particularly aggressive type of lung cancer. The company said the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) accepted its supplemental application and granted priority review to Imfinzi for the treatment of previously untreated late-stage small cell lung cancer (SCLC).
Diet pills, laxatives may signal eating disorder risk in young women
(Reuters Health) - Teens and young women who use diet pills and laxatives for weight control are five to six times more likely to be diagnosed with an eating disorder in the next three years, a U.S. study suggests. Using these medications for weight loss can be dangerous and may be a warning sign to consider counseling because there is an increased risk for developing an eating disorder such as anorexia or bulimia, the study authors write in the American Journal of Public Health.