Pfizer Vaccine Significantly Reduces Long-Term Covid Risk; Jynneos subcutaneous gives strong antibody response

Learn about the biggest pharmaceutical developments and pricing stories from the past week in KHN’s Prescription Drug Watch roundup.

CIDRAP: COVID vaccine can reduce long-term symptoms by up to 80%

COVID-19 patients who had received two doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine reported 8 of the 10 most common symptoms of the long COVID 50% to 80% less often than their unvaccinated counterparts, according to an ongoing Israeli study published in the Nature journal npj Vaccines. (Van Beusekom, 9/12)

CIDRAP: Data from vaccine maker Monkeypox show strong response

Contrary to a recent Dutch preprint that questioned the efficacy of Bavarian Nordic’s Jynneos (modified vaccine Ankara [MVA]) to produce important neutralizing antibodies against monkeypox, the company published its own preliminary study showing that single-dose and two-dose Jynneos vaccines administered subcutaneously induced long-lasting neutralizing antibody responses in healthy volunteers. (Soucheray, 9/12)

The Washington Post: Ketamine shown to curb suicidal thoughts in new research

Throughout his 15-year battle with depression, Anthony, 52, could barely get out of bed. He kept empty one-liter soda bottles nearby when he couldn’t get to the bathroom. Showering and walking out the front door was a feat. He wouldn’t have thought to have fun with a tune. (Kornfield, 9/12)

ScienceDaily: Researchers develop messenger RNA therapy for ovarian cancer and muscle wasting

Researchers have developed a promising and first-of-its-kind messenger RNA therapy for ovarian cancer as well as cachexia, a muscle wasting condition associated with cancer and other chronic diseases. (Oregon State University, 9/13)

North Carolina Health News: Counterfeit pills more common in street drug supply

These days, if you buy a pill on the street, it’s most likely a counterfeit. Even if a pill says “Xanax” on it – unless purchased directly from a pharmacy – it’s probably something else. (Knopf, 9/6)

New England Journal of Medicine: Neoadjuvant cemiplimab for stage II to IV cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma

In a pilot study involving patients with cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma, a high percentage of patients achieved a pathological complete response with the use of two doses of neoadjuvant cemiplimab prior to surgery. (Gross, MD, et al, 9/12)

The Gainesville Sun: Behavioral treatments for sleep disorders more effective than sleeping pills

The use of drugs to treat sleep disorders has dropped dramatically in the United States in recent years after several decades of strong growth, according to a study by a team of researchers led by a scientist from the University of Florida. (Mallard, 9/11)

Stat: Akero Drug for NASH reduces liver scarring, goal of mid-stage study

Akero Therapeutics said on Tuesday an experimental drug improved liver scarring twice as fast as a placebo without worsening other symptoms, meeting the primary goal of a mid-stage clinical trial involving patients with fatty liver disease. liver disease known as NASH. (Feuerstein, 9/13)

Modern healthcare: savings on Humira biosimilars could be delayed

Humira, the anti-inflammatory and rheumatoid arthritis biologic drug that has earned AbbVie nearly $200 billion in sales, has enjoyed nearly two decades of exclusivity, allowing the manufacturer to raise the price by 470% since introduction of the drug. The monopoly will end with the introduction of several Food and Drug Administration-approved copycat versions slated to hit the market in 2023, with more on the way. (Kacik, 9/13)

Stat: How drugmakers are turning telehealth into a marketing goldmine

A familiar refrain resounds in drug advertisements in the United States. You hear it at the end of TV spots and on the pages of magazines: Ask your doctor if this medicine is right for you. But as medicine increasingly moves online, direct-to-consumer advertising is adopting a more assertive slogan: Talk to a doctor now. (Palmer, 09/14)

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