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Trump, in Oval Office, signs first order on Obamacare
President Donald Trump signed his first executive order on Friday, heading into the Oval Office shortly after his inaugural parade to direct agencies to ease regulations associated with Obamacare, the signature healthcare law of his predecessor that Trump has vowed to replace. The White House did not immediately provide details about what the executive order or memo entailed. In a hastily arranged signing ceremony, with some of his top aides around him, Trump sat behind the presidential Resolute Desk, signing the order.
Merck, Bristol-Myers agree to settle Keytruda patent suit
Merck & Co said it agreed to enter into a settlement and license agreement with Bristol-Myers Squibb Co and Ono Pharmaceutical Co Ltd to resolve all global patent-infringement litigation related to its cancer drug, Keytruda. Merck will make an initial payment of $625 million to Bristol and Japan's Ono. The company will also pay a 6.5 percent royalty rate on Keytruda sales from January 2017 to December 2023, and a 2.5 percent rate for the subsequent three years.
Heartburn pills tied to serious bacterial infections
People who take popular heartburn pills known as proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) may be more likely to develop intestinal infections than people who don't take these medications, a Scottish study suggests. The pills work by stopping cells in the stomach lining from producing too much of the acid that can cause ulcers and reflux symptoms such as heartburn. Researchers examined data on about 188,000 people who used these drugs and about 377,000 similar individuals who didn't take PPIs.
Are 'natural' cigarette smokers being misled?
Natural American Spirit tobacco products are marketed as natural and additive-free, and many users think that means the cigarettes are safer to smoke, according to a recent US study. Natural American Spirit cigarettes and loose tobacco are made by Santa Fe Natural Tobacco Company, which is owned by Reynolds American. The packaging also carries the statement, No additives in our tobacco does NOT mean a safer cigarette.
Kazakhstan confirms H5 bird flu in wild swans: OIE
Kazakhstan confirmed an outbreak of highly contagious H5 bird flu virus in wild swans by the Caspian Sea, the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) said on Friday, citing a report from the Kazakh agriculture ministry. Two swans were found dead in the coastal city of Aktau in the west of the country, the report said.
Depression may prevent infertile women from seeking treatment
Infertile women who are depressed are less likely to proceed with fertility treatments, a small US study suggests. Many women in our study screened positive for depression, lead author Dr Natalie Crawford told Reuters Health in an email. While she was at UNC, all patients were given questionnaires to screen for depression and providers noticed that many women tested positive. We suspected that women who did screen positive for depression were less likely to comply with infertility treatment recommendations, Dr Crawford said.
French court says German firm must compensate for faulty breast implants
A French court ruled on Friday that German certification agency TUV Rheinland compensate thousands of women for its role in approving faulty breast implants produced by manufacturer PIP until its 2010 closure. The counterfeit substance was used in implants given to some 300,000 women. About one-quarter of those subsequently removed were found to have ruptured, regulators said, raising concerns over the long-term health effects of exposure to their contents.
Cancer patients with depression have resources
Cancer patients who experience depression can use both therapy and lifestyle tools to help support their mental health, according to a new patient resource from the JAMA Oncology journal. People with cancer, as well as their doctors, need to remember that mental health is as important as physical health for these patients, the authors note. The patient resource explains that physical changes, limitations from symptoms and treatment and uncertainty about the future all put cancer patients at risk for depression.
G.O.P. Governors Seek Flexibility on Medicaid and Health Markets
Given greater flexibility to set their own policies, several governors said, they would like to trim the number of people in Medicaid and the array of benefits offered in both the public program and private plans sold in the markets. Before the Affordable Care Act, Medicaid recipients were largely children, parents, pregnant women and the elderly and disabled. Critics say block grants could result in states cutting people from the Medicaid rolls or reducing the services they get.
Malaria champions unnerved by Trump uncertainty at crucial time
The imponderable is what happens with President Trump, said Chambers, the United Nations special envoy for malaria. Gates, whose Gates Foundation commits vast funds to global health projects, said the world has never been closer to ending malaria once and for all. Now, half the world's nations are malaria-free, and since 2000, global malaria deaths have dropped by 60 percent. In Africa, where the vast majority of malaria deaths occur, the malaria death rate has come down by more than 70 percent.
Pharma CEOs in Davos put brave face on Trump presidency
Leaders of the global pharmaceutical industry, blasted by incoming US President Donald Trump for getting away with murder on drug prices, are putting a brave face on the challenges in their biggest market. They understand that when you spend money on research and you develop intellectual property there needs to be some level of return for that investment. I believe, based on who the president-elect has put in place around him, that there is a clear understanding of investment and return on investment.
Bristol won't seek faster Opdivo/Yervoy lung cancer approval
Bristol-Myers Squibb Co on Thursday said it has decided not to seek accelerated US approval for a combination of its two immunotherapy drugs as an initial treatment for lung cancer. Shares of Bristol, which closed at $55.49 on the New York Stock Exchange, were down 6.2 percent at $52.08 after hours. The move helps secure Merck & Co Inc's current lead in the development of combination lung cancer treatments.

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