What We're Reading: Contaminated Blood Pressure Drugs; Increased Flu Activity; Real-World Data for Drug Safety, Efficacy

As many as 2 million people have been exposed to carcinogens in several generic blood pressure drugs; flu activity has worsened over the past week; and real-world data is changing how researchers study drug efficacy and safety.

FDA Warns of Exposure of Carcinogens in Blood Pressure Drugs

Flu Activity Worsens

The FDA has warned that as many as 2 million people worldwide could have been exposed to probable human carcinogens in a class of generic blood pressure medications, and at least half of these people taking the medications are in the United States. According to The Wall Street Journal, the contaminated drugs include valsartan, irbesartan, and losartan. However, the band name versions of these medications are not affected, nor are all generic products.Since October, there have been approximately 11.4 million 5.4 million doctor visits, and 136,000 flu hospitalizations, reported CNN. While this flu season is poised to be milder than last, flu activity has worsened over the past week, with an additional 3 children dying due to flu-related causes. There have been a total of 22 flu-related deaths this season.

Using Real-World Data for Studying Drug Safety and Effectiveness

The use of real-world evidence is changing how researchers determine the safety and efficacy of drugs. When drugs are used in clinical practice following trials and FDA approval, they are often used in settings different from those studied in the trials. According to STAT News, it’s time for biotech and pharmaceutical companies to pay more attention to and understand real-world studies, a position that has been backed by FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, MD.