Pharmaceuticals

The Trump administration said late Monday that it will require drugmakers to reveal the list prices of their medicines in television ads. The move sets the stage for months or possibly years of battle with the powerful industry.

The proposed rule would require pharmaceutical companies to include the price in a TV ad for any drug that costs more than $35 a month. The price should be listed at the end of the advertisement in "a legible manner," the rule states, and should be presented against a contrasting background in a way that is easy to read.

Utah-based hospital system Intermountain Healthcare released new details today about its plan to start manufacturing its own generic drugs. Representatives said it’s a new approach to driving down drug prices.

A drug that's already approved for treating leukemia appears to dramatically reduce symptoms in people who have Parkinson's disease with dementia, or a related condition called Lewy body dementia.

A pilot study of 12 patients given small doses of nilotinib found that movement and mental function improved in all of the 11 people who completed the six-month trial, researchers reported Saturday at the Society for Neuroscience meeting in Chicago.

Amy Mayer / Harvest Public Media

One of the most important tools of modern medicine is in jeopardy. In the 20th century, antibiotics turned once-lethal infections into manageable diseases. They also contributed to the transformation of meat production in America.

Now, overuse of the drugs in both humans and animals is to blame for the growing threat of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, which the U.S. Centers for Disease Control blames for at least 23,000 deaths a year.

"We are nearly on the brink of being back in the pre-antibiotic era," said Loreen Herwaldt, a University of Iowa professor of infectious disease and internal medicine. "And that's pretty scary, in terms of not having anything to treat people with who have serious infections."

Mary MacCarthy / Special to Rocky Mountain PBS

New and experimental drugs are extending the lives of people with the deadliest forms of cancer. At the University of Colorado Cancer Center in Aurora, Dr. Ross Camidge leads clinical trials for lung cancer, which kills more people each year than breast cancer, colon cancer and pancreatic cancer combined.

Camidge calls them "niche-busters" – targeted therapies that dig deep into the profiles of each individual cancer. Researchers have discovered that just as individual patients have different genetic make-ups, so do their tumors.

Compassion and Choices

This fall, the highly publicized death of Brittany Maynard, a 29-year-old with terminal brain cancer who decided to end her life, brought the "right to die" movement a lot of attention.

Anne Singer, campaigns communications manager at the group Compassion and Choices, which advocates for death with dignity, as it is sometimes called, said the public response has been astonishing.

"Nothing like this has ever happened to our organization before. Our website crashed…the momentum is definitely picking up."

Photo courtesy of Colorado State University

The U.S. Department of Defense has awarded a $2 million contract to Colorado State University’s Biopharmaceutical Manufacturing and Academic Resource Center, to help develop a vaccine to protect against Ebola and similar viruses.

Gilead Sciences, Inc.

Starting in June, Colorado’s Medicaid agency will cover a breakthrough hepatitis C drug on a case-by-case basis, while it decides who will qualify for the potentially life-saving drug, and who will not.

For the first time in decades, researchers trying to develop a vaccine for malaria have discovered a new target they can use to attack this deadly and common parasite.

Most experimental drugs fail before they make it through all the tests required to figure out if they actually work and if they're safe. But some drugs get fairly far down that road, at the cost of hundreds of millions of dollars, based on poorly conducted studies at the outset.

Medical researchers reviewing this sorry state of affairs say the drug-development process needs serious improvement.

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