Close menu
May 24, 2024 Toxic Exposures

Big Pharma News Watch

State’s High Court Will Take Up Teen’s Forced COVID Vaccination Case + More

The Defender’s Big Pharma Watch delivers the latest headlines related to pharmaceutical companies and their products, including vaccines, drugs, and medical devices and treatments. The views expressed in the below excerpts from other news sources do not necessarily reflect the views of The Defender. Our goal is to provide readers with breaking news that affects human health and the environment.

State’s High Court Will Take up Teen’s Forced COVID Vaccination Case

The Carolina Journal reported:

The North Carolina Supreme Court will consider the case of a Guilford County teenager who was vaccinated against COVID-19 in 2021 despite his objections and without parental consent.

A court order Thursday confirmed that the high court will take up the case of Tanner Smith, who was 14 when he faced the forced vaccination. Smith’s mother, Emily Happel, is also a plaintiff in the lawsuit against the Guilford County school board and Old North State Medical Society.

Lower courts have ruled against the mother and son. A unanimous state Court of Appeals panel ruled in March that a federal law, the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act, protected the school board and medical group from legal liability linked to the vaccination.

Smith’s stepfather drove him to the testing site and waited outside the building. The teenager was asked to fill out a form while a clinic worker tried unsuccessfully to contact his mother. Smith and his family didn’t know the clinic also provided COVID-19 vaccine shots.

 “After failing to make contact with Tanner’s mother, one of the workers instructed the other worker to ‘give it to him anyway.’ Tanner stated he did not want a vaccine and was only expecting a test, but one of the workers administered a Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine to him,” Judge April Wood wrote.

Penn Researchers Develop Experimental mRNA Avian Flu Vaccine

Penn Medicine News reported:

An experimental mRNA vaccine against avian influenza virus H5N1 is highly effective in preventing severe illness and death in preclinical models. The vaccine could potentially help manage the outbreak of the H5N1 virus currently circulating in birds and cattle in the United States, and prevent human infections with the virus, according to research from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, published today in Nature Communications.

“The mRNA technology allows us to be much more agile in developing vaccines; we can start creating a mRNA vaccine within hours of sequencing a new viral strain with pandemic potential,” said Scott Hensley, PhD, a professor of Microbiology at the Perelman School of Medicine. “During previous influenza pandemics, like the 2009 H1N1 pandemic, vaccines were difficult to manufacture and did not become available until after the initial pandemic waves subsided.”

Hensley and his laboratory collaborated in the study with the laboratory of mRNA vaccine pioneer and Nobel Prize winner, Drew Weissman, MD, PhD, the Roberts Family Professor in Vaccine Research and Director of Vaccine Research at Penn Medicine.

Huge Number of Deaths Linked to Superbugs Can Be Avoided, Say Experts

The Guardian reported:

Antimicrobial resistance, or AMR, is a huge global challenge, with the evolution of drug-resistant superbugs, driven by factors including inappropriate and excessive antibiotic use, raising the prospect of a future where modern medicine fails.

Experts have warned that if the world does not prioritize action on AMR then there will be a steady increase in the death toll, with infants, elderly people, and those with chronic illnesses or requiring surgical procedures, at the highest risk.

Experts have also warned of a scenario where once-trivial infections prove fatal, and crucial procedures in modern medicine, ranging from cesarean sections to cancer treatments and organ transplants, become too risky to be feasible.

According to data for 2019 an estimated 4.95m deaths were associated with bacterial AMR, including 1.27m deaths directly caused by such resistance.

Heard on the Street: Moderna Got a Boost From Bird Flu, but Don’t Count Your Chicks

The Wall Street Journal reported:

Vaccine stocks are back in vogue, at least for now.

Moderna, BioNTech, CureVac and Novavax have added billions of dollars in combined market capitalization gains in recent days after two cases of bird flu were reported in humans in the U.S. and reports emerged of a potential federal government vaccine program. On Wednesday, Moderna gained 14% while BioNTech added 11%. CureVac jumped 19%.

They weren’t unwinding those gains on Thursday, despite overall agreement on Wall Street that there is a relatively low chance of widespread human infection.

Moderna’s Long COVID Plan

Politico reported:

Moderna is eyeing a new target: long COVID. The pharmaceutical company that became a household name when it developed a COVID-19 vaccine now wants to treat the disease’s lingering effects, which have afflicted tens of millions of people by some estimates.

“We see this as an opportunity for Moderna to repeat our leadership and our expertise,” Bishoy Rizkalla, the company’s vice president of long Covid, told Daniel.

Even so: Rizkalla said Moderna has no cure in the offing. He said the company is waiting for the science to develop around how the condition works before it begins “active research into solutions.”

What’s next? Rizkalla said he sees some promise in antiviral treatments, which may clear residual virus after an infection, or vaccines, perhaps to further train an immune response to the virus.

This Up-and-Coming Cancer Treatment Could Be a $25 Billion Market Opportunity — It’s Already a Hotbed for M&A

CNBC reported:

Big pharma is betting billions on an up-and-coming class of cancer treatments that some on Wall Street are calling a “massive opportunity.” It’s called targeted radiopharmaceutical therapy. It essentially delivers radiation directly into tumors by attaching a radioactive particle to a targeting molecule.

RBC Capital Markets sees a $25 billion market opportunity for the space.

Four acquisitions in the space were announced in just the last several months. The latest was by Novartis, which already has two targeted radiotherapies on the market. Pluvicto treats a certain type of advanced prostate cancer, while Lutathera targets neuroendocrine tumors.

Eli Lilly, which has benefited from the excitement in the GLP-1 space with its diabetes drug Mounjaro and weight-loss treatment Zepbound, completed its $1.4 billion acquisition of radiopharmaceutical company Point Biopharma in December.

Ahead of ASCO, J&J Reports Mixed Data on Next-Generation Radiopharmaceutical

STAT News reported:

An early-stage clinical trial of a radiopharmaceutical drug developed by Johnson & Johnson showed some signs of efficacy in prostate cancer patients, newly released data show, but four participants in the trial died.

The drug, JNJ-6420, is designed to treat metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer by delivering radioactive isotopes directly to cancer cells. Interest in such radiopharmaceuticals has skyrocketed following the approval of Pluvicto, which also treats prostate cancer.

Zantac Not a Cause of Woman’s Cancer, Jury Says in First Trial Over Drug

Reuters reported:

A jury in Chicago on Thursday rejected an Illinois woman’s claim that the now discontinued heartburn drug Zantac caused her colon cancer, in the first trial out of thousands of lawsuits making similar allegations.

The jury in Cook County, Illinois circuit court agreed with arguments from drugmakers GSK (GSK.L) and Boehringer Ingelheim that the plaintiff, 89-year-old Illinois resident Angela Valadez, had not proven her colon cancer was at least in part caused by her Zantac use.

Mikal Watts, one of Valadez’s attorneys, said he respected the jury’s verdict but was confident the companies would be held liable in future Zantac trials. “This is a marathon, not a sprint,” he said.

Watts said at the trial that began on May 2 that the companies knew that ranitidine would turn into NDMA as it aged or was exposed to extreme temperatures, but did not ensure it was properly handled by transporters, distributors and stores.

The Most Popular Pill to Treat Women’s Acne Is a Blood Pressure Drug

NBC News reported:

A generic high blood pressure drug has become the most commonly prescribed oral medication to treat acne in women, overtaking antibiotics and birth control pills, a new report from Epic Research shows.

The report, conducted on behalf of NBC News, found that spironolactone made up 47% of all oral medications prescribed to women for acne in 2023, up from 27% in 2017. Prescriptions for oral antibiotics — previously the go-to pill for acne — decreased from 41% to 27% in the same time period.

The shift is likely driven in part by the American Academy of Dermatology’s call to limit the use of antibiotics when possible, according to Dr. John Barbieri, a dermatologist and epidemiologist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. Those prescribing guidelines, which Barbieri helped write, have encouraged dermatologists since at least 2016 to limit prescribing antibiotics in an attempt to combat drug resistance.

Suggest A Correction

Share Options

Close menu

Republish Article

Please use the HTML above to republish this article. It is pre-formatted to follow our republication guidelines. Among other things, these require that the article not be edited; that the author’s byline is included; and that The Defender is clearly credited as the original source.

Please visit our full guidelines for more information. By republishing this article, you agree to these terms.