Trending News Today: US Attorney General Says Opioid Epidemic is the Major Lethal Issue

Top news of the day from across the healthcare landscape.

Yesterday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said that drug overdose deaths have become a top lethal problem in the country, highlighting the negative effects of the opioid epidemic, according to The Hill. In 2016, Sessions reported that there were 600,000 drug overdose deaths, which is a record for the country. The attorney general vows to collaborate with law enforcement to target drug dealers to prevent drug addiction and overdoses, The Hill reported.

Last year, nearly 75% of Alaska’s drug overdose deaths were related to prescription drugs and heroin. Transmission of blood-borne viruses, including hepatitis C virus (HCV), was found to increase by nearly 500% over the past few years, according to NPR. This boom in HCV was linked to $90 million in related costs in 2015, which threatens the financial viability of the state, according to the article.

AstraZeneca will receive up to $400 million from Takeda Pharmaceutical due to a co-development for MEDI1341, a Parkinson’s disease drug, according to Reuters. The investigational antibody drug is set to begin phase 1 clinical trials under the leadership of AstraZeneca, while Takeda will explore future development. AstraZeneca is also seeking to use artificial intelligence to find novel treatments for Parkinson’s disease.