What We're Reading: Amazon Shipments; New COPD Treatment; High-Profile Mergers on Hold

March 18, 2020

Amazon has decided to suspend nonessential item shipments; study results show patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) benefited from a fluticasone furoate/umeclidinium/vilanterol combination inhaler; disruptions from the coronavirus now extend to proposed mergers among industry giants.

US, UK Amazon Warehouses to No Longer Receive Nonessential Items

Beginning yesterday, Amazon decided to suspend shipments of nonessential items to US and UK warehouses, reports The Hill, through at least April 5. This change in operations was triggered by the coronavirus pandemic, which itself triggered a jump in online shopping with social distancing and remote working the norm for the forseeable future. Shopping habits have also changed, with there now being a greater call for medical supplies and household staples.

New Combination Inhaler Reduced COPD Mortality by 42%

Study results published recently in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine show that using a combination inhaler of fluticasone furoate (FF)/umeclidinium (UMEC)/vilanterol (VI) just once a day to treat chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) could reduce all-cause mortality by 42%. Trial participants also exhibited improved lung function and health-related quality of life. Followed for 1 year, they were randomized to 1 of 3 combination groups: FF/UMEC/VI, FF/VI, or UMEC/VI. According to the study authors, “No previous study has prospectively demonstrated that drug therapy can reduce all-cause mortality in people with COPD. Major studies done prior to IMPACT suggested mortality reductions, but were not able to prove this with certainty.”

Merger Approvals on Hold Due to Coronavirus

Google and FitBit, along with AbbVie and Allergan, have witnessed their planned mergers be stymied by the worldwide coronavirus crisis, according to Bloomberg. Officials from the Department of Justice and Federal Trade Commission say their agencies need extra time to gather the necessary documents and conduct antitrust investigations, both of which have been hampered by the pandemic. AbbVie is planning to shell out $63 billion for Allergan, while Google will spend $2.1 billion for FitBit. Antitrust investigations can often last 1 or more years.