Health News Roundup: Juul’s checkered e-cigarette journey cut short by FDA ban; European Commission grants marketing authorization to Valneva’s COVID-19 shot and more


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Following is a summary of current health news briefs.

Juul’s checkered e-cigarette journey cut short by FDA ban

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration ordered Juul Labs Inc to stop selling its e-cigarettes in the United States on Thursday, saying the company’s data “lacked sufficient evidence” to show its products would be appropriate for the protection of public health. The following are significant events in the checkered history of Juul Labs, which started under the name of Ploom Inc:

European Commission grants marketing authorization to Valneva’s COVID-19 shot

French drugmaker Valneva’s COVID-19 vaccine has received marketing authorization from the European Commission (EC) for use as a primary vaccination in people from 18 to 50 years of age, the company said on Friday. The marketing authorization will cover the European Union’s member states as well as Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Norway.

U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade, ends constitutional right to abortion

The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday overturned the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling that recognized women’s constitutional right to abortion, a decision condemned by President Joe Biden that will dramatically change life for millions of women in America and exacerbate growing tensions in a deeply polarized country. The court, in a 6-3 ruling powered by its conservative majority, upheld a Republican-backed Mississippi law that bans abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy. The vote was 5-4 to overturn Roe, with conservative Chief Justice John Roberts writing separately to say he would have upheld the Mississippi law without taking the additional step of erasing the Roe precedent altogether.

Factbox-Latest on the worldwide spread of the coronavirus

COVID-19 vaccines this fall are likely to be based on the Omicron variant of the coronavirus rather than the original strain, although some experts suggest they may only offer significant benefits for older and immunocompromised people. DEATHS AND INFECTIONS

BioNTech in conflict with the regulator over new COVID vaccine approval – WAS

The launch of German drugmaker BioNTech’s vaccine adapted to the Omicron coronavirus variant may be delayed due to a disagreement with the regulator over the approval process, the Welt Am Sonntag (WAS) newspaper reported on Saturday. The regulator should still decide by the end of June whether or not to approve the new vaccine but BioNTech Chief Executive Ugur Sahin does not plan to submit any new clinical trials, WAS reported, citing the Financial Times.

Federal appeals court puts FDA ban on Juul e-cigarette sales on hold

A U.S. federal appeals court on Friday put on hold the Food and Drug Administration’s ban on sales of Juul Labs Inc’s e-cigarettes after the company appealed the health agency’s order and said the ban would cause it “irreparable harm”. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District Of Columbia Circuit said the purpose of the stay was to allow the court sufficient time to consider Juul’s briefing for an emergency review and not a ruling on the merits of that motion.

Beijing to reopen schools, Shanghai declares victory over COVID

Beijing on Saturday said it would allow primary and secondary schools to resume in-person classes and Shanghai’s top party boss declared victory over COVID-19 after the city reported zero new local cases for the first time in two months. The two major cities were among several places in China that implemented curbs to stop the spread of the Omicron wave from March to May, with Shanghai imposing a two-month-long city-wide lockdown that lifted on June 1.

Abortion pills over the counter? Experts see big hurdles in widening U.S. access

A pill used to terminate early pregnancies is unlikely to become available without a prescription for years, if ever, experts told Reuters, as the conservative-leaning U.S. Supreme Court dramatically curbed abortion rights this week. The Supreme Court on Friday overturned the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling that recognized the constitutional right to an abortion and legalized it nationwide. The new ruling stung abortion rights advocates and was a momentous victory for Republicans and religious conservatives.

Bristol Myers must face $6.4 billion lawsuits over delayed cancer drug

A U.S. judge on Friday refused to dismiss a $6.4 billion lawsuit accusing Bristol Myers Squibb Co of delaying its Breyanzi cancer drug to avoid payments to shareholders of the former Celgene Corp, which the drugmaker bought for $80.3 billion in 2019. U.S. District Judge Jesse Furman in Manhattan rejected Bristol Myers’ claim that it was never properly notified about its alleged default on its merger obligations by UMB Bank NA, the trustee representing the former Celgene shareholders.

WHO says over 900 probable cases of acute hepatitis reported in children

Thirty-three countries have reported 920 probable cases of severe acute hepatitis in children so far, a jump of 270 from May, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Friday. The WHO said that the European Region accounted for half the probable cases, including 267 from the United Kingdom, while a third of the probable cases were from the United States.

(With inputs from agencies.)


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