Trending News Today: House Passes Legislation Targeting Opioid Epidemic

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

Scientists James Allison and Tasuku Honjo won the 2018 Nobel Prize for Physiology and Medicine for their discoveries about how to harness and manipulate the immune system to fight cancer, Reuters reported. According to the article, the scientists’ work focused on proteins that act as brakes on the immune system, resulting in immunotherapies for cancers such as melanoma and lung cancer. Honjo also separately discovered a second protein called PD-1 and found it also acted similarly, but with a different mechanism, leading to drugs targeting the PD-1 blockade, the article reported.

On Friday, the House passed legislation aimed at fighting the opioid epidemic, The Hill reported. According to the article, the bill, which passed 393-8, includes a range of measures to address to the opioid crisis, including lifting some limits on Medicaid paying for care at addiction treatment facilities. The bill also cracks down on illicit opioids being imported by mail and lifts limits on nurse practitioners and other providers being able to prescribe buprenorphine, the article reported.

The FDA announced it will no longer allow imports of drug products made with ingredients produced by China’s Zhejiang Huahai Pharmaceuticals following the recall of valsartan-containing blood pressure medications, Reuters reported. The Chinese bulk manufacturer recalled the product from consumers in July due to the detection of an impurity linked to cancer. According to the article, the FDA said it found major manufacturing process issues during its inspection of Huahai’s plant. According to the article, the ban on imports would remain in place until the manufacturer determines how the impurities were introduced and improves its quality control systems.