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FDA approves first generic version of EpiPen

The FDA just approved the first generic version of EpiPen — a move that the agency says could help lower costs for the lifesaving drug for allergic reactions. It’s not clear how much the generic EpiPen — which will be sold by Teva — will cost. Mylan, which markets EpiPen, sells a pair at a list price of $608.61 and also sells an "authorized generic" version at $300 a pair. Teva’s approval comes two years after Mylan landed in hot water for dramatically increasing the price of EpiPens while using its monopoly power to keep competition at bay. Since 2004, Mylan has raised the price of EpiPen by more than 450 percent.

Trump wants Sessions to sue over opioid crisis

President Trump wants Attorney General Jeff Sessions to file a federal lawsuit against drug makers who supply and manufacture opioids — but it’s not clear if or when that might happen. States, tribal governments, and counties across the country have filed lawsuits against opioid manufacturers and drug distributors, many of which have been wrapped into a tangle of cases known as multidistrict litigation. But in a cabinet meeting Thursday, Trump said he wants Sessions to launch a separate lawsuit.

NYU to give full ride to all medical students

New York University is going to start covering tuition for all of its medical students — both current and future — regardless of a student’s ability to pay. And students were facing a steep bill: For NYU’s 2018-2019 academic year, tuition tops $55,000. The news makes NYU the first top-tier institution known to have covered tuition for its entire medical student body. It took the school 11 years to raise enough money to make the effort possible. “It makes an enormous difference in our students lives,” Dr. Robert Grossman, a dean at the School of Medicine, tells STAT. “We think it will, at some level, relieve one source of stress in medical training.” More here.

Inside STAT: Scientists make elusive bacteria in our mouths less of a mystery 


(hyacinth empinado / stat)

More than two decades ago, Floyd Dewhirst and his colleagues at the Forsyth Institute were taking a census of the many bacteria in the mouth when they came across a mysterious group of creatures. Scientists call them “microbial dark matter.” They’ve dodged Petri dishes for years, because they’re notoriously hard to grow outside of their own natural environment. But Dewhirst has figured out a way to grow them in his lab. STAT’s Hyacinth Empinado has a cool new video about microbial dark matter here.

CDC releases new numbers on disability in the U.S. 

One in four adults in the U.S. has a disability that affects major life activities, according to a new analysis. Here’s a look at the numbers:

  • The most common type of disability: mobility. Nearly 14 percent of people said they had a mobility-related disability, 11 percent a cognitive disability, 6 percent a hearing disability, and 5 percent a visual disability.

  • Disability due to mobility issues was nearly five times more common among middle-aged adults living below the poverty level than their peers with an income of twice the poverty level.

  • One-quarter of young adults with a vision disability didn't have health insurance coverage in 2016, and one-third didn't have a usual provider.

Study points to possible test for gestational diabetes risk

A blood test might one day help doctors identify pregnant women at risk of gestational diabetes. In a new paper published in Scientific Reports, researchers analyzed data from more than 2,000 low-risk pregnant women in the U.S and found that women who went on to develop gestational diabetes had higher HbA1c levels. Doctors commonly measure HbA1c to diagnose type 2 diabetes. As HbA1c levels increased, gestational diabetes risk rose. But there’s still a need for more research to confirm the findings and determine whether lowering HbA1c with lifestyle changes would make a dent in that risk.

A microscopic tool highlights tuberculosis bacteria


Bacteria gets the green light. (y. cheng et. al / science translational medicine)

Scientists have created a sort of microscopic flashlight that can light up the bacteria that can cause tuberculosis. The tiny probe turns bright green when it's activated by an enzyme found in the bacteria that causes tuberculosis. It was able to distinguish between live and dead bacteria and also between a weakened form of TB and 43 other related types of bacteria. The researchers also created a chip that could accurately count the number of bacteria tagged with the fluorescent probe in a given sample. They’re hopeful the tools could one day be used in the field to quickly diagnosis TB or test experimental treatments.

What to read around the web today

  • This 27-year-old launches drones that deliver blood to Rwanda's hospitals. Bloomberg
  • A scrappy crew of biotechs is working on a new wave of schizophrenia medicines. STAT Plus
  • When insurance wouldn't pay, parents funded cancer patient's $95,000 lifesaving treatment. CNN
  • Veterans group sues to block VA shadow rulers. ProPublica
  • Never mind the rebates. Maybe behind-the-scenes fees are boosting drug prices. STAT Plus

Thanks for reading! Have a wonderful weekend,

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Friday, August 17, 2018


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