Trending News Today: Opdivo Fails in Lung Cancer Trial

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

Starting in 2018, high-income Americans covered by Medicare will have an increase in premium surcharges, and now is the time to make tax moves in order to help minimize these surcharges, reported The Wall Street Journal. The increase is based on a decision by Congress that the top 5% of Medicare recipients should contribute more for their coverage than lower earners. However, through careful planning, premiums can often be reduced, and the following key moves could help lessen the blow: revamp charitable contributions; look into shifting assets from a traditional IRA into a Roth IRA; manage capital gains and losses; time the receipt of income; and turn to work-related savings.

The pharmaceutical field was met with a surprise on Friday, when Bristol-Myers Squibb most popular selling drug Opdivo failed in a clinical trial as an initial treatment of expanded use for lung cancer. According to The New York Times, Opdivo failed to slow the progression of advanced lung cancer. This failure will most likely result in a significant drop in overall sales, with shares of Bristol-Myers already plummeting 17% in afternoon trading. “This is a major surprise — possibly the biggest clinical surprise of my career,” Dr. Mark Schoenebaum, a pharmaceutical analyst at Evercore ISI, told the Times. Timothy Anderson, an analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein & Company believes that Bristol-Myers may have “pushed the envelope too far in designing its trial” by hoping to broaden the population eligible for treatment and setting the cutoff value for PD-L1 levels too low.

Findings from a new study revealed that black men who undergo treatment for prostate cancer with hormone therapy may have a higher risk of death than white men, reported The Washington Post. Although black men in the study had a higher incidence of death after only 4 months of hormone therapy, none of the deaths were actually caused by prostate cancer, but instead appeared to be related to cardiovascular health issues that were present prior to their cancer diagnosis. Lead researcher Konstantin Kovtun, noted that African American men have an onset of cardiovascular issues that are linked to ADT use. “If I was a physician and I had the data now available for the study, I would be more careful in using ADT for African American men,” Kovtun said in the report.