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Merck drug Keytruda succeeds in late-stage esophageal cancer trial

Merck & Co’s blockbuster drug Keytruda met the main goal of a late-stage trial testing the treatment in patients with cancers of the digestive tract, the US drugmaker said on Wednesday. Keytruda, among a class of medicines called PD-1 inhibitors, is Merck’s top selling drug and has already been approved to treat several forms of cancer including skin and lung cancer. PD-1 or PD-L1 inhibitors work by blocking a mechanism of tumors that allows them to evade detection by cancer-fighting cells. Keytruda, when…

Medicine prices cannot be increased until govt issues notification, orders SC

ISLAMABAD: While resenting absence of regular head of the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP), the Supreme Court on Wednesday ordered health secretary to prepare summary for appointment of the chief executive officer to run the body, ARY News reported. Hearing suo motu case regarding increase in medicine prices, Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar asked why the CEO of DRAP could not be appointed as yet. He directed the health secretary to prepare summary for appointment of the CEO within two days and send it to the…

Man imprisoned for sending terror threats in Pakistan over detention of Czech woman

PRAGUE: A young Bulgarian man was sentenced to 40 months in jail by a Czech court over messages threatening terror attacks in Pakistan unless Islamabad freed a woman arrested with heroin in the country. According to Czech Radio website, the regional court in Plzen, west of Prague, found 21-year-old Nikolai Simeonov Ivanov guilty of sending the threats by email and text message to a television channel and news website in Pakistan. The threats demanded the release of a Czech woman he knew, named as Tereza H, who had been…

Shkreli’s ex-lawyer gets 18 months prison for helping ‘Pharma Bro’ fraud scheme

NEW YORK: A New York lawyer was sentenced to 18 months prison on Friday for helping Martin Shkreli, currently serving a seven-year prison sentence after being convicted of related charges, defraud a drug company that Shkreli had founded. Evan Greebel, who was outside counsel to Shkreli’s former company Retrophin Inc, was sentenced by US District Judge Kiyo Matsumoto in Brooklyn. His lawyers had asked that he be given no jail time, while prosecutors had asked for five years. The judge also ordered Greebel to pay about…

Chinese company to conduct drug clinical trials in Pakistan

KARACHI: A leading Chinese pharmaceutical company will conduct drug trials at the International Centre for Chemical and Biological Sciences (ICCBS) at Karachi University after signing of an agreement between the two sides recently. The agreement was signed by Dr Xiaochun Chen, director general, Health and Family Planning Commission of Hunan Province, China, and ICCBS director Prof M. Iqbal Choudhary. According to a statement, the agreement signing between Hunan Anbang Pharmaceutical Company (HAPC) and ICCBS also marked…

Biohaven tumbles as migraine drug efficacy fails to impress investors

Biohaven Pharmaceutical Holding said its migraine treatment met the main goals in two late-stage studies but the efficacy data failed to differentiate when compared with rival treatments in a crowded field. Shares fell as much as 50 percent in light premarket trading on Monday but pared losses to trade down 23 percent at $19 as volume picked up. The stakes are high for Connecticut-based Biohaven, which entered a competitive field late and hopes to rival a treatment from Allergan Plc that reported strong efficacy data…

Drug-overdose suicides may be going undetected: study

VIRGINIA: Deaths by drug overdose are more likely to be classified as accidental or of undetermined cause, compared to deaths by gunshot or hanging, say U.S. researchers who conclude that drug suicides may be underestimated. With drug overdoses, there are often few clues to suggest suicide, such as a suicide note, according to the first large study of U.S. death investigations and inherent biases in determining the manner of death. “The opioid epidemic is killing more people every year at a higher rate,” said lead…

Common blood pressure drug tied to increased risk of skin cancer

People who take a certain water pill prescribed to control fluid retention and treat high blood pressure may be more likely to get skin cancer than other individuals, a Danish study suggests. While the drug, hydrochlorothiazide, has long been linked to an increased risk of sunburns, the current study offers fresh evidence that this commonly prescribed medication may also make people more likely to develop two types of skin cancer: basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma. For the study, researchers examined…