Trending News Today: Pfizer Sales Drop for Pneumonia Vaccine

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

A new study reveals a strong link between air pollution and the risk of dementia, according to the Los Angeles Times. Additionally, older women who inhale heavily polluted air from car exhaust and other sources have nearly double the risk of developing dementia. The cognitive effects of air pollution is substantially pronounced in women who carry the genetic variant APOE-e4, meaning they have a higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, the LA Times reported. The nationwide study tracked the cognitive health of women aged 65 to 79 years for a decade. The results of the study showed that those who carried the APOE-e4 variant were nearly 3 times more likely to develop dementia after exposure to high levels of air pollution compared with women who did not carry the variant. Prior studies have tackled the health costs of air pollution in asthma, cardiovascular disease, and lung disease; however, the impact of air pollutants on brain health have only just begun, reported the LA Times. The study’s findings offer new insights into the effects of air pollution on the aging brain.

In the recent quarter, Pfizer Inc reported a drop in revenue as sales from its top-selling pneumonia vaccine decreased, according to The Wall Street Journal. Additionally, Pfizer’s sales outlook fell below Wall Street’s expectations. Global sales for the Prevnar vaccine dropped 24% to $1.4 billion in the latest quarter. Pfizer attributes the decrease to many eligible patients who are already vaccinated, the Journal reported. Additionally, the company cited the unfavorable timing of government purchases.

Aetna CEO Mark Bertolini remains hopeful in the next wave of health care reform, as well as the evolving health care policy landscape, according to The Milwaukee Wisconsin Journal Sentinel. Aetna lost $450 million last year selling individual policies, which includes those sold through the Affordable Care Act exchanges. Collectively, companies have lost billions of dollars, and most of the nonprofit companies that were started through the legislation have failed, the Sentinel reported. The uncertainty surrounding the future of Obamacare could result in a collapse of the market in 2018, according to health insurance experts. Initially, Bertolini confirmed this idea; however, Aetna is in talks with lawmakers, and Bertolini is optimistic that the replacement for Obamacare will be consumer-focused, high-quality, and affordable.