Trending News Today: Bipartisan Group Urges FDA to Examine Drug Shortages

Top news of the day from across the health care landscape.

A potential new therapy for spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) helped improve development scores in babies with the genetic disease in a study released on Monday, Reuters reported. Risdiplam, which is being co-developed by Roche and PTC Therapeutics, resulted in a 4-point increase in a test that measures neuromuscular progress 6 months after treatment in 90% of babies with severe Type 1 SMA, according to the article. Spinraza from Biogen, risdiplam’s rival drug, sells for $750,000 for the first year of therapy and approximately $375,000 annually after that, the article reported.

A bipartisan group of senators is asking the head of the FDA to provide recommendations to Congress on how to address nationwide drug shortages, The Hill reported. According to the article, Sens. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) and Bill Cassidy (R-La.) led a letter to FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb asking the agency to convene its Drug Shortages Task Force in an effort to determine the causes of these shortages and craft policy recommendations by no later than the end of 2019. The letter specifically mentions drug shortages for routinely used medications, such as local anesthetics and sterile intravenous fluids, the article reported.

Recently-released government figures show that approximately 14% of US adults were smokers last year, a decrease from approximately 16% the year before, the Associated Press reported. According to the article, there are still more than 30 million adult smokers in the United States. The findings come from a national health survey by the CDC, in which approximately 27,000 adults were interviewed last year, the article reported.