FDA approves new indication for treating ocular itching

USA – The FDA has approved Ocular Therapeutix’s Dextenza (dexamethasone 0.4 mg), an intracanalicular insert for the treatment of allergic conjunctivitis. Ocular Therapeutix, Inc. a biopharmaceutical company focused on the formulation, development, and commercialization of novel therapies for eye diseases and conditions. The approval of the new indication was based on the findings of three randomized, multicenter, vehicle-controlled studies involving 255 patients with a history of ocular allergies and a positive skin test reaction to perennial and seasonal allergens. Dextenza now becomes the first FDA-approved, physician-administered intracanalicular insert capable of…

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Sanofi’s Kevzara shortage looms as Actemra scarcity spills over

FRANCE – Actemra from Roche has been in high demand since its efficacy in treating severe COVID-19 was established, resulting in shortages. Sanofi’s rival therapy Kevzara has now been impacted by supply constraints as well. According to Sanofi, based on current demand, supply of all four Kevzara (sarilumab) formats – 150 mg or 200 mg pre-filled syringes or auto-injectors – will be limited until early 2022. Roche’s arthritis medication Actemra has quickly risen to the forefront of the pandemic fight for critically ill COVID-19 patients. In August, Roche’s Genentech division…

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Legal & General completes £760 million buy-in with Sanofi Pension Scheme

FRANCE – The Sanofi Pension Scheme has insured the benefits of approximately 2,900 pensioners in a £760 million buy-in with Legal & General (L&G) Assurance Society. Despite being a long-term client of L&G Investment Management, this is the scheme’s first bulk annuity deal with L&G. Legal & General, founded in 1836, is one of the UK’s leading financial services groups and a major global investor, with operations in the United States, Europe, the Middle East, and Asia. It is the UK’s largest investment manager for corporate pension schemes, with nearly…

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GE unveils US$2.5 million engineer training programme in South Africa

SOUTH AFRICA – General Electric (GE), leading provider of Healthcare technologies, has announced a five-year, US$2.5 million investment in Johannesburg to launch ‘Next Engineers’, a global initiative focused on increasing the diversity of young people in engineering. GE has selected Johannesburg as one of four inaugural locations, aiming to inspire more than 3,500 local students aged 13 to 18 in grade eight to twelve, provide first-hand experiences in engineering, and award financial support to pursue further education in engineering. GE is partnering with PROTEC, South Africa’s leading non-profit organization that…

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Ghana marks National Patient Safety Day with calls for safe Maternal and Newborn Care

GHANA – The Ministry of Health and partners have collectively called for safe maternal and newborn care in Ghana at the 3rd National Patient Safety and Healthcare Quality Conference in Accra. The conference, which culminated in the observation of the 2021 Patient Safety Day, was under the theme: “No Quality, No Coverage; Safe Maternal and Newborn Care Now”. The 2021 conference, organized in partnership with Ghana’s Network for improving the Quality of Care for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health, incorporated a National Learning Forum for Quality of Care. The platform…

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EU bans carcinogenic food additive used in confectionaries

EUROPE – European Union member states have unanimously agreed to ban a widely used coloring additive for food, known as the artificial coloring E171 on labels, after finding that its carcinogenic effects cannot be ruled out. Titanium dioxide, or E171 – used to whiten and brighten products like cake icing, sweets, white sauces, medicine and cosmetics – was found to contain titanium dioxide nanoparticles. The particles have the potential to cause DNA damage, according to research conducted by the European Food and Safety Authority (EFSA). The EFSA’s conclusion, based on…

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Top leaders rally US$23M funding drive for Nigeria’s medical research

NIGERIA – Former Lagos State governor, Babatunde Fashola, and former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Muhammad Sanusi II, have volunteered to mobilize stakeholders to raise a seed fund of US$23.34 million (N10 billion) for the development of impactful medical research outputs in the country. The duo made the commitment at a public presentation of the Nigerian Institute of Medical Research (NIMR) Foundation citing concern over the funding challenge facing researchers’ efforts to develop homegrown impactful research works. These funds will enable researchers conduct studies that will primarily…

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Uganda battles rising cases of Dementia despite heavy funding constraints

UGANDA – A prevalence study conducted in Uganda ha shown that one in five people in Uganda aged 60 and above, has Alzheimer’s disease or related forms of dementia, raising alarm in the country. The findings of this study support World Health Organisation’s latest data, which shows that two-thirds of people with dementia worldwide live in low and middle-income countries. Alzheimer’s is a disorder that causes the brain to shrink and brain cells to die, slowly destroying memory and thinking skills, and eventually the ability to carry out activities of…

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Aditya Jyot and Agarwal’s eye hospitals pen merger deal

INDIA – Dr. Agarwal’s Eye Hospitals has announced that it has merged with Maharsahtra-based eyecare facility, Aditya Jyot Eye hospital. The merger with Aditya Jyot, a more than three-decade-old facility, will bring Agarwals” total network to 100 hospitals. It has already announced plans to invest more than US$132 million (Rs 1,000 crore) over the next three years to build 100 new hospitals and 500 vision centers around the world. “We have a US$132 million (Rs 1,000 crore) expansion plan to increase our footprint pan-India to 200 hospitals in the next…

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Moderna narrows down on locations for planned Africa based vaccine plant

AFRICA – Moderna, global Covid-19 vaccine giant, has announced that it is considering Rwanda, Senegal and South Africa as potential ground for its intended vaccine factory in Africa. Moderna said last week it would build a plant in Africa to produce up to 500 million doses of vaccines a year, including its COVID-19 shot, as pressure grows on pharmaceutical companies to manufacture drugs in lower-income countries. Health experts have said Rwanda, Senegal and South Africa could be candidates because they either have existing vaccine expertise and production, or have expressed…

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