Reuters Health News Summary

Following is a summary of current health news briefs.

Samoa measles outbreak kills 20, mostly children

Deaths related to measles, mostly among small children, have more than tripled to 20 in the past week on the Pacific island of Samoa, the government has said eight days after declaring a state of emergency over the outbreak. The island state of just 200,000, located south of the equator and half way between Hawaii and New Zealand, declared a measles epidemic late in October after the first deaths.

Cannabis tied to serious complications in type 1 diabetes

(Reuters Health) - People with type 1 diabetes may be more than twice as likely to develop potentially fatal complications when they use cannabis somewhat regularly than when they avoid the drug or rarely indulge, a study suggests. Researchers surveyed 932 adults with type 1 diabetes about alcohol, smoking and substance use. They assigned each person a cannabis use score ranging from 0 for no use at all to 33 for the highest exposure to the drug.

Longer-term data fail to clear concern over Takeda's dengue vaccine

An additional six months of data from a late-stage trial of Takeda Pharmaceutical Co's experimental dengue vaccine again showed it failed to protect against one of the four types of the virus in an important patient group, researchers said on Saturday. The longer-term data, presented at the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene meeting in Maryland, also showed a slight waning of the overall effectiveness of the vaccine, TAK-003.

Takeda says cancer drug Alunbrig shows longer benefit vs. crizotinib

Japan's biggest drugmaker, Takeda Pharmaceutical Co Ltd , said long-term data show better outcomes for its Alunbrig drug in certain lung cancer patients compared to an existing treatment. Oncology is a pillar for Takeda as it refocuses on core businesses following last year's $59 billion takeover of Britain's Shire. The announcement followed a week of investor conferences at home and in the United States intended to show that its drug pipeline is robust enough to fuel continued growth.

Trump says he will allow states to import prescription drugs to lower costs

U.S. President Donald Trump said on Friday he will soon release a plan to let Florida and other states import prescription medicines to combat high drug prices, and he blasted the Democrat-led House for not going far enough in a drug-pricing bill. "We will soon be putting more options on the table," Trump wrote in a series of tweets, adding that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi "and her Do Nothing Democrats drug pricing bill doesn’t do the trick."

Roche says Tecentriq cocktail helps liver cancer patients live longer

Swiss drugmaker Roche on Friday said its immunotherapy Tecentriq combined with its Avastin medicine helped people with the most common form of liver cancer to live longer than with an older drug from Germany's Bayer. Median overall survival for patients with unresectable hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), or that which cannot be surgically removed, getting Tecentriq and Avastin had not been reached but exceeded the 13.2 months of those on Bayer's drug, sorafenib, Roche said.

French doctor still treating patients at 98

When French doctor Christian Chenay saw his first patients in 1951, penicillin was state of the art. Now 98 years old, he is still working and opens his surgery in the Paris suburbs two mornings a week for patients, some of whom he has treated for decades.

FDA approves Aquestive's ALS treatment

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Friday approved Aquestive Therapeutics' treatment for neurological disorder amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Shares of the company, which developed riluzole oral film (ROF) and will market the film under the brand name Exservan, rose 4% at $6.76 after the bell.

Argentine health chief quits in abortion fight with conservative president

Argentina's health secretary resigned on Friday after a protocol he signed the day before, aimed at making abortion more available, was revoked by conservative President Mauricio Macri, less than a month before he is to leave office. "Unfortunately, the repeal of the protocol forces me to resign my position as the nation's secretary of health," Adolfo Rubinstein said in his resignation letter, a copy of which was seen by Reuters.

Trump says ban of some flavored e-cigarette products could lead to illegal sales

U.S. President Donald Trump on Friday expressed concerns that enacting his administration's proposed ban on many flavored e-cigarette and vaping products would lead to people obtaining them illegally. Trump also raised worries during a raucous meeting with public health and industry representatives that illegal e-cigarette and vaping products could be substandard.