What We're Reading: Obesity Rises Among US Women

What we're reading, June 8, 2016: obesity rate among women reaches record high; abuse-resistant opioid recommended for approval by advisory panel; and Gilead does not owe Merck money in drug-patent dispute.

The rate of obesity among women in the United States has reached a record high. According to STAT, 40% of women in the US are obese compared with 35% of men. While the population of overweight men and women usually changes at the same rate, between 2013 and 2014 the rate of obesity among women rose, but did not among men. In addition, the rate of obesity among teenagers has doubled in a generation. However, obesity among preschoolers is down.

Teva’s abuse-resistant opioid has received a recommendation for approval by an FDA advisory panel. The long-acting painkiller is designed for patients with pain severe enough that it requires around-the-clock treatment, according to Reuters. The drug will reduce, though not prevent, abuse, and the advisory panel recommended it be approved by a 14-3 vote. While the abuse-deterrent properties are small, they are an improvement over existing painkillers, the panel members determined.

Gilead Sciences Inc. will not have to pay Merck & Co. over a drug-patent dispute. A judge has reversed a jury decision after determining Merck’s attorney involved with obtaining patents for hepatitis C drugs engaged in misconduct, reported The Wall Street Journal. In March, a jury had ordered Gilead to pay $200 million after it found Gilead’s hepatitis C drugs, Sovaldi and Harvoni, infringed upon valid patents held by Merck and Ionis Pharmaceuticals Inc.