Canada has overridden Bayer's patent for Cipro, an antibiotic to treat anthrax, and ordered a million tablets of a generic version of the drug from a Canadian company. The White House thus far is resisting a move to break the patent.
Britain's National Institute for Clinical Excellence has recommended that Reductil, a highly effective anti-obesity drug, should be made available on its National Health Service to adults age 18-65 who have diabetes or high cholesterol and have made serious attempts to lose weight. Patients who take the drug lose about 8% of their body weight after two years.
Pfizer's program to give away the anti-fungal medicine Diflucan to government clinics in South Africa has been met with much criticism, much to the surprise of Pfizer Chairman Henry McKinnell. Several nonprofit humanitarian organizations, including Doctors Without Borders, Oxfam International and Treatment Action Campaign, argue that rather than donate drugs Pfizer should lower the price of a needed medicine and allow generics into the market.
Aventis Pharmaceuticals' ACE inhibitor Altace for high blood pressure might prevent diabetes in people at high risk for the disease, according to findings published in this week's Journal of the American Medical Association. The study is a follow-up to a previous study that found the drug can reduce deaths, heart attacks and other complications in diabetics and people at high risk for diabetes.
General Accounting Office officials testified before the Senate this week to say the nation's food-safety system should be consolidated. Under the current system, the USDA monitors meat, poultry and eggs, and the FDA oversees the rest of the food supply. According to Food Marketing Institute Chief Executive Tim Hammonds, the system currently is ill-equipped to handle a potential bioterrorist attack.