What We're Reading: Price Hikes for Older Drugs; FDA Shifts Resources; Opioids and Birth Defects

AJMC Staff

Manufacturers Raise Prices of Older Drugs Despite Recalls, Shortages

Amid drug shortages and recalls, at least 3 sellers of a widely used blood-pressure medication, valsartan, have raised prices since a series of safety-related recalls of the drug by other manufacturers, The Wall Street Journal reported. In addition, of the nearly 120 drugs listed by the FDA as currently or recently in shortage, about one-third had price increases after the shortages started, according to the paper’s review of pricing data provided by RELX Group’s Elsevier health-information unit.

FDA Prioritizes Drug Reviews by Shifting Resources

The FDA is attempting to conserve dwindling resources during the government shutdown by prioritizing drug applications, The Washington Post reported. Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, MD, told the paper that the measures will only help preserve funds for a few weeks, and not months, if the shutdown is protracted. The 2018 fees are expected to run out about February 8, and the agency isn’t allowed to collect the 2019 fees during the shutdown, although it can shift funds from other activities.

Researchers Investigating Link Between Birth Defect, Opioids

Researchers are looking into a possible link between prescription opioids and a birth defect called gastroschisis, the Associated Press reported. The condition causes an infant to be born with its intestines outside the stomach due to a hole in the abdominal wall. Most are repaired through surgery. Roughly 1800 such cases happen annually, but the number has been rising and officials don't know why.
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