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What We're Reading: Pfizer, GSK Combining OTC Units; NIH's Collins Under Pressure; VA Suicide Prevention Efforts Lag

AJMC Staff
In a deal that will allow both companies to focus more on their prescription drug business, Pfizer and GlaxoSmithKline plan to combine their over-the-counter (OTC) consumer healthcare units; 2 antiabortion groups want National Institutes of Health (NIH) National Director Francis Collins, MD, to resign after he defended the agency’s funding of fetal tissue research; despite the fact that 20 veterans die a day from suicide, suicide prevention efforts at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) have slumped.

Pfizer, GlaxoSmithKline to Combine OTC Businesses to Focus on Prescription Drugs

In a deal that will allow both companies to focus more on their prescription drug business, Pfizer and GlaxoSmithKline plan to combine their consumer healthcare units and eventually spin off the joint venture, The Wall Street Journal reported. The venture will become the world's largest seller of over-the-counter (OTC) medicines.

 

Antiabortion Groups Want NIH Director Collins to Step Down

Two antiabortion groups, March for Life and Live Action, want National Institutes of Health (NIH) National Director Francis Collins, MD, to resign after he defended the agency’s funding of fetal tissue research. The Hill reported that he told Science magazine that fetal tissue would “continue to be the mainstay” for research. HHS is conducting a review of more than $100 million in federal funding of these projects and is expected to reach a decision in the coming months. It did cancel a contract with 1 fetal tissue firm after facing pressure from the antiabortion groups.

 

VA Suicide Prevention Efforts Dropped Amid Agency Chaos

Despite the fact that 20 veterans die a day from suicide, suicide prevention efforts at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) have slumped, according to a Government Accountability Office report. The report blamed bureaucratic confusion and key vacancies, The New York Times said. The VA spent just $57,000 of its $6.2 million media budget, and its presence on social media, mostly paid posts, declined by 77% from the levels of 2015. In a response, the VA agreed with the assessment and said that it was already working on correcting the problems.

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