Trending News Today: Patients File Lawsuit Over Insulin Cost Spike

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Lung cancer screenings may take more effort than the results merit, as only a small number of individuals with cancer are identified through this procedure, according to NPR. In a study conducted by the Veterans Health Administration, which included 4246 patients who were eligible for screening, investigators sought to examine the overall benefits and potential harms of setting up a screening program in a large medical institution. In general, screenings can identify cancers, but a vast majority of test results produce false alarms, NPR reported. Although the low-dose CT scans were offered at no cost, approximately half of the participants declined to take the test. The results of the study showed that 55% of patients had lung nodules—–often leading to follow-up appointments and further scans––but very few of the nodules are actually a cause for concern, NPR reported. Overall, 31 cases of lung cancer were identified, of which approximately 20 were in the early and most treatable stage. Although the 20 or so patients who had their cancer detectable saw benefits from the screening, “but that has to be weighed against the amount of effort on the part of both patients and staff, and the anxiety, the worry, that a false alarm will cause among patients,” lead investigator Dr Linda Kinsinger told NPR.

A generic drug used to treat pinworms is being investigated as a potential cancer drug, according to NPR. Mebendazole has been used for more than 40 years to treat parasitic infections, and in prior mice studies, the drug was found to stave off cancer development. Currently, two phase 1 studies are examining the safety of mebendazole in children and adults with brain cancer. According to the investigators, the drug appears to be safe and well-tolerated by patients thus far. The next step will be to look for a benefit in a phase 2 trial of individuals with cancer. According to Bruce Bloom, president and chief science officer of Cures Within Reach, which helped fund the studies, it’s unlikely that mebendazole, or any other single repurposed drug, will cure cancer; however, they may be able to help the body manage cancer.

Eleven patients have filed a lawsuit against 3 drug companies for systematically increasing the cost of insulin in an alleged fraudulent-pricing scheme that buried patients with astronomical out-of-pocket costs, The Washington Post reported. Humalog, a version of insulin launched 2 decades ago at a list price of $21 a vial, has increased to $255 a vial. The lawsuit, filed in the US District Court in Massachusetts, claims that drug companies have steadily increased the sticker price of insulin in order to expand their discounts, but have not lowered the overall cost. The lawsuit alleges that it violates the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, as well as state consumer protection laws, the Post reported.