Drugs Abroad
Monsanto Faces U.S. Lawsuits and EU Politics

The global herbicide Roundup is back under the microscope after its manufacturer, Monsanto, has once again been faced with mounting legal and political battles in the U.S. and Europe.

The New York Times reports “the European Parliament made Monsanto the first company barred from lobbying the chamber after its executives refused to take part in a hearing over glyphosate.”
Despite this, both the European Food Safety Authority and the European Chemicals Agency have authorized glyphosate’s safety. And in a move suspected to appease working farmers, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has voiced her support for glyphosate.

Monsanto is still facing U.S. litigation from farmworkers and others who’ve had prolonged exposure to Roundup and developed non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.


Stock Market Influenced By...Testosterone?

In a fascinating study of public perception meeting hard science, a link has been suggested between testosterone and stock market instability. Approximately 140 males participated in a stock trade simulation for this study, the first of its kind.

The Management Science journal revealed, “High-testosterone traders were more likely to deploy a more aggressive strategy: buy high to sell higher.”

Amos Nadler, a researcher at the Ivey Business School at Western University, said the results suggest "the need to consider hormonal influences on decision-making in professional settings because biological factors can exacerbate capital risk."

Additional studies have indicated the other effects linked to testosterone. Nadler went on to suggest the result of the study is not a new one, and that “cool down” periods on the trading floor could very well mitigate the risk of irrational decisions. 



Janssen Seeks New Indication for Invokana

Drug manufacturer Janssen Pharmaceuticals has submitted a Supplemental New Drug Application (sNDA) to the FDA, seeking a new indication for INVOKANA® (canagliflozin) “to reduce the risk of major adverse cardiovascular events (MACE), composed of cardiovascular death, myocardial infarction and stroke, in adults with type 2 diabetes who have established CV disease or are at risk for CV disease.”

In a press release, Janssen stated: “the sNDA is based on data from the CANVAS Program, which evaluated the CV safety and efficacy of canagliflozin relative to placebo in adults with type 2 diabetes who had either established CV disease or were at risk for CV disease.”

Despite Janssen’s application, Invokana is still under scrutiny. In May of 2017 the FDA issued a black box warning for Invokana, stating it “causes an increased risk of leg and foot amputation.”

Health Insurance


Trump Ends Cost-Sharing Reduction Payments 

In an undoubtedly bold move, President Donald Trump has signed an Executive Order ending cost-sharing reduction payments (CSRs), which may be damaging to lower-income Americans.

CSRs divide the cost of healthcare between private companies and the federal government, limiting out-of-pocket expenses based on how much an individual can afford to pay.

As reported in GQ, “The payments have been the subject of litigation for several years now, because due to a drafting error in the Affordable Care Act, the text of the legislation arguably authorizes the payment of funds without Congressional appropriation—which is required anytime the government is going to spend money.”

Covered California sent an email late Friday stating, “Despite this action, Covered California members will not see any change in their health costs for the remainder of 2017 and the rates and out-of-pocket costs published by Covered California for 2018 will not be affected.”

Women's Health


Female Condom Advocates Urge for Better Product Distribution

Veru Healthcare, the manufacturer of the female condom, is facing pressure from more than 200 advocates, pleading the reversal of its decision to make the female condom more expensive and difficult to find.

Rewire reports, “The company disagrees, saying its new distribution methods give people more options and should even make it cheaper for most people.”

Women are statistically at greater risk of contracting STIs and HIV when only the male partner uses a condom.

The claim that “poor sales” was a factor in changing the distribution model was examined by the chief commercial officer at Veru, Brian Groch, stating “Walgreens, for example, has more than 8,000 stores in the United States and maybe 400 of them stocked the product.”