Reuters Health News Summary

Following is a summary of current health news briefs.

Weight discrimination may worsen young teens' emotional problems

(Reuters Health) - For overweight adolescents, experiencing discrimination or bullying in the first year of middle school may contribute to emotional issues seen in the third year by worsening loneliness and anxiety, a U.S. study suggests. "We know that heavier youth are likely to be dissatisfied with their bodies at any one time," said lead author Jaana Juvonen of the University of California, Los Angeles.

Deaths and complications after surgery decline at VA

Surgery patients in Veterans Affairs (VA) hospitals are much less likely to die or suffer postoperative complications today than they were 15 years ago, a U.S. study suggests. Researchers examined data on more than 700,000 mostly male patients who had surgery at 143 VA hospitals nationwide from 1999 through 2014.

E-cigarette users view smoke-free areas as okay for vaping

The majority of e-cigarette users have "vaped" in a smoke-free environment and most don't view use of the devices as harmful to themselves or others, according to a U.S. study. Nearly three quarters of users opposed banning e-cigarette use in public spaces that are designated as non-smoking, and younger users are most likely to consider all spaces acceptable for vaping, surveys found.

Hard to swallow: emerging markets get tougher for drugmakers

Emerging markets have lost their luster for Big Pharma making drug firms ever more dependent on the United States for growth just as American anger over high medicine prices is building. A few years ago, the developing world was seen as a savior as patent after patent expired across the United States and Europe, but emerging market sales growth at the top drug firms slowed to less than two percent in the latest quarter.

UnitedHealth trims drug coverage, including Sanofi insulin

UnitedHealth Group, the largest U.S. health insurer, will stop covering several brand-name drugs as of next year, reinforcing a trend of payers steering prescriptions to lower-priced options. In a bulletin seeking client feedback by Sept. 28, UnitedHealth said it is changing reimbursement terms for long-acting insulins and will no longer cover Lantus, the main insulin drug sold by Sanofi.

Lundbeck says Alzheimer's drug fails in late-stage study

Danish drugmaker H Lundbeck A/S's highly anticipated experimental Alzheimer's drug failed in a late-stage study, underscoring the challenges faced by drugmakers to tackle the debilitating memory-robbing disease. The Copenhagen-based company said on Thursday both doses of the drug, idalopirdine, showed a "weak efficacy profile" and failed to reduce cognitive decline measured on a scale called ADAS-cog in the study named Starshine.

Cost hampers drive to double number of children treated for starvation: hunger experts

A drive to give six million severely malnourished children life-saving treatment every year by 2020 - twice the current number - will only succeed if governments prioritize it alongside other killers and treatment costs are cut, hunger experts said on Thursday. The number of children treated for severe hunger has plateaued at just over 3 million in recent years, comprising a fraction of the 16 million who need it, the U.N. children's agency UNICEF said.

UK okays Alexion drug costing up to $2 million but wants price cut

A new drug to treat a rare inherited bone disorder that was developed by Alexion Pharmaceuticals and could cost up to 1.5 million pounds ($2 million) a year per patient has been cleared for limited use by Britain's health cost watchdog. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), which had turned down Strensiq as too expensive in December, said on Thursday it had decided the drug could offer a lifeline for a handful of babies and young children.

Childless women don't know much about egg freezing options

Although egg-freezing has been an option for some time, most childless women still lack knowledge about the costs and viability of freezing their eggs to preserve their fertility, suggests a small study in Canada. In a survey of young women without children, participants listed financial considerations, health risks and unknown success rates as the main factors that would influence their decision to freeze their eggs.

U.S. states sue opioid-maker Indivior, alleging anticompetitive practices

Thirty-five U.S. states and the District of Columbia filed a lawsuit on Thursday against opioid drug maker Indivior alleging it tried to keep generic versions of a drug off the market. British-based Indivior, which was spun off from Reckitt Benckiser in 2014, is the maker of Suboxone, a drug used to treat patients addicted to heroin and other painkillers.

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