The Department of Health and Human Services released new policies Friday aimed at improving clinical trial access for the general public. AKA, the reason why clinicaltrials.gov was created. Turns out not everyone has been participating equally in the project though—a 2014 study reported that 30 percent of trials don’t publish information to the site. Vice President Joe Biden is annoyed. In June he even threatened to cut off funding to noncompliant institutions. Friday’s policies expand the types of studies that must be reported on, ask for faster registration of trials and generally require more detailed information about the research. See what you did researchers? You didn’t listen to the teacher the first time and now you have even more homework. Classic mistake.
Otsuka and NEC are teaming up to create a medicine “bottle” to help increase medication compliance. Apparently the threat of a 2nd stroke isn’t incentive enough for many patients. About half wander off course from their medication regimen after about six months. The new bottle will flash an LED light when a dose is due and will alert a patient’s prescriber of non-compliance. Pletal, Otsuka’s clot-fighting drug that reduces the chance of a second stroke, is optimally effective when taken uninterrupted so there are potentially large health benefits from the technology. This is all well and good until some do-gooder applies the technology to beer bottles that tell your doctor how much you drink. We’re just sayin’ it’s a slippery slope. That’s all.
The agribusiness behemoth Monsanto has accepted Bayer AG’s $66 billion takeover bid. The offer will be the largest all-cash deal to ever take place… if Bayer can get past regulatory hurdles in about 30 different jurisdictions. If it can’t, Bayer has to pay Monsanto $2 billion to make up for it. The deal would put Bayer in control of more than a quarter of the world’s seed and pesticide supply. This means Bayer’s biggest business is now agriculture-based, not healthcare. Could this mean less involvement in pharmaceuticals for Bayer? Most of that $66 billion came from bank loans and, as any college grad knows, owing the bank a lot of money means less cash to buy drugs.
A new opioid drug might be the cause for celebration in the midst of America’s painkiller epidemic. Researchers studied compound BU08028 in non-human primates to assess its effects on pain relief. The results? Well first and foremost, it eliminates pain just as well as other opioids like morphine. But unlike other opioids, it does it without adverse effects on primates’ respiratory and cardiovascular systems. Most importantly, it does so without being addictive. When researchers allowed monkeys to self-administer pain medication they found the monkeys didn’t use BU08028 more than the control dose of saline. Seems like the only thing we have to worry about in this experiment is a revenge plot from the monkeys who had their tails dipped in hot water.
The NHS that’s who. UK Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has unveiled plans to “fast track digital excellence” including a further round of digital excellence centres and “instant access” to a personal online health record. The NHS will select 12 “global exemplars” that could receive up to £10 million to support their pioneering efforts. The plan will also invest heavily in training healthcare workers on how to use digital technologies. One example: A library of NHS-approved health apps to guide patient choice. They will also be advising on other wearable devices, to ensure people can select reputable and effective products to monitor and improve their health. Brilliant.