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What We’re Reading: FDA Approves UTI Antibiotic; Ozempic, Wegovy Price Investigation; US Births Fall

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The FDA recently approved an antibiotic for the treatment of urinary tract infections (UTIs) in women; a Senate committee recently launched an investigation into the prices of Novo Nordisk’s diabetes and weight loss drugs; US births fell last year, resuming a national slide after a previous increase during the pandemic.

FDA Approves Sale of UTI Antibiotic

The FDA has approved pivmecillinam, an antibiotic for the treatment of urinary tract infections (UTIs) in women, according to The New York Times. The drug, which has been used in Europe for more than 40 years, will be marketed in the US as Pivya and will be available by prescription to women 18 years and older. This is the first time in 2 decades that the FDA has approved a new antibiotic for UTIs. Consequently, this gives health providers a new tool to combat UTIs, which have become increasingly unresponsive to existing antimicrobial drugs. Utility Therapeutics, the US company that acquired the rights to pivmecillinam, said it would be available in 2025 and that it is seeking FDA approval for an intravenous version of the drug for more serious infections, which would usually be administered in a hospital setting.

Senate Committee Investigates Ozempic, Wegovy Pricing

A Senate committee is launching an investigation into the prices of Novo Nordisk’s diabetes and weight loss drugs, Ozempic and Wegovy, according to Reuters. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT), chair of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, sent a letter to Novo Nordisk’s CEO seeking more information on US prices for the drugs, which are higher than those in other countries. Additionally, the committee asked why Novo Nordisk was charging a higher price for Wegovy than Ozempic despite both containing the same compound; the drugs are considered GLP-1 agonists as they both reduce food cravings and cause the stomach to empty more slowly. The committee also asked if Novo Nordisk will substantially reduce both the list and net prices of both drugs.

US Births Fell Last Year After Previous Pandemic Rebound

US births fell last year, resuming a national slide after a previous increase during the pandemic, according to The Associated Press. The CDC released provisional statistics on Thursday, which showed that just under 3.6 million babies were born in 2023; this was about 76,000 fewer than in 2022 and the lowest 1-year tally since 1979. Birth rates fell across most racial and ethnic groups: 5% for American Indian and Alaska Native women, 4% for Black women, 3% for White women, and 2% for Asian American women; conversely, births rose by 1% for Hispanic women. Overall, births had been slipping for over a decade before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, and they dropped 4% from 2019 to 2020. However, births then increased for 2 straight years, which experts partially attributed to pregnancies that couples had put off amid the early days of the pandemic. After the release of the 2023 numbers, experts reported that the US is back to the previous downward trend.

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