What We’re Reading: FDA Approves OTC Naloxone; Obesity Drugs Might Be “Essential” by WHO; WHO Revamps COVID-19 Vaccine Recs

The FDA approves over-the-counter (OTC) naloxone that will be available in late summer; the World Health Organization (WHO) might consider obesity drugs “essential” in upcoming review; the WHO updates COVID-19 vaccine recommendations.

Over the Counter Naloxone Approved by FDA

Naloxone (Narcan), a prescription nasal spray that reverses opioid overdoses, can now be sold over the counter, said the FDA on Wednesday. The New York Times reported that public health officials and treatment experts have been waiting for this outcome and that more availability will decrease the country’s frighteningly high drug fatality rates. The drug will be available by late summer and could be for sale in big-box chains, vending machines, supermarkets, and more locations.

WHO Will Consider Obesity Drug Additions to “Essential” Medicines List

Drugs that fight obesity could be included on the World Health Organization’s (WHO) “essential medicines list,” for the first time, a tool that is used to guide government purchasing decisions in low and middle-income countries, according to Reuters . An advisory panel to the WHO will review new requests for included drugs in April, with an updated essential medicines list expected in September. The request covers the active ingredient liraglutide in Novo Nordisk’s obesity drug (brand name Saxenda) that will soon come off patent and allow for cheaper or generic versions. However, some public health experts warn against widespread introduction of such medicines as a solution for a complex condition not yet well understood.

WHO Revamps COVID-19 Vaccine Recommendations

The WHO has altered its COVID-19 vaccination recommendations that suggest health children and adolescents might not need a shot, but older, high-risk groups should get a booster between 6 and 12 months after their last injection, reported CNN. The goal was to focus on vaccinating those at the greatest risk of severe disease and death from COVID-19, while considering the current high level of worldwide population immunity because of widespread vaccination and infection. The organization said that vaccines after the first 2 shots and booster were no longer routinely recommended for people at “medium risk” because of marginal benefits.

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