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In this entry of Small Doses, we're bringing you news on lawsuits, FDA actions, heart medicine, and more!
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Teens Are Having Sex, but Responsibly
Teenagers are more responsible about sex than adults give them credit for, according to a new report from the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics. Although 55% of teens have had sex by age 18, about 80% of them have used some kind of protection, usually condoms, during their first sexual encounter. This use of protection is what has helped the teen pregnancy rate fall to 22 per 1,000 females, down from 62 per 1,000 in 1991. The report found that levels of sexual activity have continued falling, while the use of contraceptives is steadily increasing. About 6% of teen girls said they were using a long-acting reversible birth control method such as an intrauterine device or a hormonal implant.
The report is based on a study of more than 4,000 individuals aged 15 to 19. You can read the report, “Sexual Activity and Contraceptive Use Among Teenagers in the United States, 2011-2015,” here.
Vaccines Can Be Blamed for Illnesses with No Proof, Says EU Court
Courts in Europe can now consider whether a vaccination caused someone to become ill even in the absence of scientific proof of a connection between the two events. This was the ruling made by the highest court in the European Union. The ruling stems from the case of a French man who sued vaccine manufacturer Sanofi Pasteur because he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis about a year after being vaccinated against hepatitis B. The French Court of Appeals and a higher French court ruled that there was no causal link between the vaccination and the development of MS. The EU's top court said that even in the face of no scientific consensus on the matter, a vaccine could be considered defective if there was consistent evidence of a link such as the time between a vaccine's administration and the onset of a disease, an individual's previous state of health, the lack of any family history of the disease, and a significant number of reported cases of the disease occurring following vaccination. The ruling is the target of complaints by vaccine experts, including Paul Offit, a pediatrician and vaccine expert at the University of Pennsylvania. "Using those criteria, you could reasonably make the case that someone should be compensated for developing leukemia after eating a peanut butter sandwich," he told AP.
Missouri Joins Two Other States in Drug Manufacturer Suit
Missouri filed a lawsuit against Purdue Pharma LP, Johnson & Johnson, and units of Endo International Plc. The state claims that the manufacturers engaged in deceptive advertising and trade practices. Missouri became the third state to sue drug manufacturers over the opioid crisis after Ohio and Mississippi filed suits earlier this year. Several local governments have filed similar lawsuits, including the Cherokee Nation, two California counties, nine New York counties, and the cities of Chicago and Dayton.
FDA Wants to Stop Pharmaceutical Companies from Disrupting Generics
FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb announced that the FDA will hold a public meeting on July 18 to examine the ways in which pharmaceutical companies are using FDA rules to delay generic drug approvals (for more on this, check out Drug Topics’ recent article, “How Drug Companies use Loopholes to Delay Generic Drug Approvals”). Gottlieb said that pharmaceutical companies are “gaming” the regulatory rules to delay generic approvals, and he wants to “make sure that we are facilitating appropriate competition.”
Heart Medication Patients Lower Drug Costs with Healthy Lifestyle
A new study from the Journal of the American Heart Association found that worsening modifiable risk factors (MRFs) in patients with atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD) were associated with higher annual drug costs. MRFs included inadequate physical activity, obesity, smoking, dyslipidemia, hypertension, and diabetes mellitus. Patients with optimal MRF paid $1400 on medications annually, while patients with poor MRF profiles paid $4516.