Health News Roundup: Bayer holds call with bond investors after raft of bad news; Novo to launch Wegovy in Asia with February roll-out in Japan and more
The investment will significantly increase production capacity for current medicines including Ozempic and Wegovy as well as other obesity treatments that are being developed, the Danish drugmaker said. Novo to launch Wegovy in Asia with February roll-out in Japan Novo Nordisk will launch its hugely popular anti-obesity drug Wegovy in Japan on Feb. 22, its first launch in Asia, the company said on Thursday, even as it struggles to keep up with demand in existing markets.
Following is a summary of current health news briefs.
Don't press 'pandemic panic button' scientists caution on China pneumonia report
Leading scientists urged caution over fears of another pandemic on Thursday after the World Health Organization requested more information from China on a rise of respiratory illnesses and pneumonia clusters among children. "We have to be careful," said Marion Koopmans, a Dutch virologist who advised the WHO on COVID-19. "We really need more information, particularly diagnostic information."
Bayer holds call with bond investors after raft of bad news
Bayer held a call with investors on Monday after a raft of bad news led some of them to question whether the German group had been upfront about its prospects ahead of a $5.75 billion bond issuance, three sources familiar with the situation said on Wednesday. The bad news prompted some bond investors to question whether Bayer should sweeten the terms of the deal or outright pull it, one of the sources said.
Hong Kong to cull 1,900 pigs after reporting second swine fever case in a month
Hong Kong has ordered the culling of almost two thousand pigs after confirming a second case of African swine fever (ASF) in a month. The Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) on Thursday said it planned to cull around 1,900 pigs from one herd on Nov. 25 after the virus was discovered at a local pig farm.
Almost 400,000 deaths in Europe in 2021 attributable to filthy air -EU report
Almost 400,000 deaths in Europe in 2021 were related to three main air pollutants and some could have been avoided if pollutants had been reduced to World Health Organisation-recommended levels, an EU report said on Friday. The European Environment Agency (EEA) said that within the European Union, pollution caused by fine particulate matter (PM2.5), which affects people with heart diseases in particular, led to 253,000 deaths in 2021. Pollution from nitrogen dioxide (NO2), most harmful to people with diabetes, resulted in 52,000 deaths and short-term ozone (O3) exposure led to 22,000 deaths.
Zimbabwe restricts gatherings, food vending as cholera cases spike
Zimbabwe's government has started restricting public gatherings and food vending, while monitoring burials in all areas affected by cholera, after cases of the disease spiked this week. New cholera cases in the southern African country trebled from 437 to 1,259 this week, the biggest jump since the latest outbreak of the water-borne disease started in February. This has triggered panic in Zimbabwe, where more than 4,000 people died from cholera in 2008.
Novo Nordisk invests $2.3 billion in France to boost obesity drug production
Novo Nordisk on Thursday announced a $2.3 billion investment to boost production of its wildly popular weight-loss and diabetes drugs at a site in Chartres, France as it races to meet soaring demand. The investment will significantly increase production capacity for current medicines including Ozempic and Wegovy as well as other obesity treatments that are being developed, the Danish drugmaker said.
Novo to launch Wegovy in Asia with February roll-out in Japan
Novo Nordisk will launch its hugely popular anti-obesity drug Wegovy in Japan on Feb. 22, its first launch in Asia, the company said on Thursday, even as it struggles to keep up with demand in existing markets. The Danish company has picked Japan as the sixth country in which to launch Wegovy despite obesity being a much smaller problem in the Asian country relative to the West.
Indonesian court papers reveal chain of events that led to cough syrup deaths
Indonesian court documents have revealed for the first time the chain of events that led to toxic ingredients being used in cough syrup that was among the products blamed for the deaths of more than 200 children in the country last year. According to the previously unreported 373-page court ruling in a criminal case of officials at Indonesia drugmaker Afi Farma, the seeds of the tragedy were sown in 2021 during a global shortage of pharmaceutical grade propylene glycol (PG), a key base for syrupy medicines.
Macron to unveil 2.1 billion eur Novo Nordisk pharma investment in France
French President Emmanuel Macron will on Thursday inaugurate a 2.1 billion euro ($2.3 billion) investment by Danish pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk in France, his office said, pitching it as a sign of newly restored French industrial competitiveness. The investment, for which no detail was provided by Macron's office, will be based in Chartres, west of Paris, where Novo already employs nearly 2,000 people. Novo is known for its hugely popular anti-obesity drug Wegovy.
(With inputs from agencies.)