Trending News Today: China Serves as an Ally in Fight Against Opioids

Top news of the day from across the healthcare landscape.

US Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, MD, recently said that China has been extremely helpful in cracking down on synthetic opioids being imported into the country, according to The New York Times. Dr Price said that China was quick to respond when fentanyl was identified as a driver of fatal overdoses in the United States. A challenge still exists due to the rapidly changing formulation of the drugs, which are altered to no longer be identified as controlled substances, according to the article.

Yesterday, Johnson & Johnson was ordered to pay $417 million in damages to a patient who developed ovarian cancer after using the company’s baby powder for decades, The New York Times reported. The patient is among thousands who have sued the company for damages due to ovarian and other reproductive cancers. Previously, patients have been awarded $55 million to $110 million in damages due to baby powder-related cancers, but many suits have been dismissed, according to the Times.

Both legal and illegal opioids were involved in the nearly 1.3 million hospitalizations occurred in 2014, according to The New York Times. A new study found a 64% increase in inpatient stays and doubled emergency room visits linked to opioids since 2005, highlighting the overwhelming impact of the opioid epidemic. The investigators found that there was a sharper increase among opioid-related hospitalizations among women than men, according to the article. These findings may provide additional approaches to drive down the effects of the opioid epidemic.