What We're Reading: Alzheimer Drug Search; Worsening Flu Season; Drug Charity Lawsuit

Despite recent setbacks, drug makers and investors are still optimistic about finding an Alzheimer disease treatment; the United States' already moderately severe flu season could get worse; a charity that assists patients with out-of-pocket drug costs is suing the government over communication restrictions with drug donors.

Drug Makers Continue Search for Alzheimer Drug

Although there have been recent setbacks in the search to treat Alzheimer disease, drug makers and investors are still optimistic. According to The Wall Street Journal, Roche, Biogen, Eli Lilly, and more are still working on their Alzheimer treatments even as Axovant Sciences and Pfizer both gave up on their work. In fiscal year 2017, the National Institutes of Health will have invested almost triple what it did in 2013 in Alzheimer disease. Analysts expect that a successful treatment could be worth billions of dollars.

Flu Season Could Get Even Worse

While the flu season in the United States is already “moderately severe,” it could get even worse. The majority of cases have been a strain that caused many hospitalizations and deaths during Australia’s winter 6 months ago, reported The New York Times. The combination of the virus strain, an imperfect vaccine, and the cold weather could all combine to make the flu season worse. The United States expects that the flu shot this season is roughly 30% effective against the current virus strain.

Patient Assistance Charity Sues Over Restrictions

Patient Services Inc, which offers assistance to patients on out-of-pocket drug costs, has sued the federal government over donor communications. New guidance from the Office of the Inspector General requires that the charity refrain from communicating with drug makers who donate to provide patients assistance in order to get information about issues with patient populations and drug costs used to create programs, reported Reuters. The charity claims the restrictions are “unreasonable, unfair, and unconstitutional.”