Quick Hits: A Code of Conduct for Opioid Marketing, Sunscreens Fail to Protect & More

Quick Hits: Transvaginal Mesh Pulled, New Weight Loss Drug & More

Pharmaceutical giant Pfizer has agreed to develop a code of conduct regarding the marketing of opioid drugs in an effort to ease the prescription opioid epidemic. As part of the code, Pfizer says it will disclose in promotional materials that narcotic drugs have a high potential for addiction, even when used properly, and refrain from promoting opioids for uses that are not approved in its labeling. The agreement came as part of discussions with the City of Chicago, which sued five other drug manufacturers (Pfizer was not targeted) over alleged misleading marketing of opioids. Although Pfizer actively promotes only one prescription opioid, Embeda (morphine and naltrexone), officials are hopeful that other drugmakers will follow Pfizer’s example. Posted July 5, 2016. Via The Washington Post.

Many of the most popular sunscreens do not meet guidelines for basic sun protection, according to a new study. Researchers at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine analyzed the top 1% of sunscreens sold on Alpha XR based on consumer ratings and number of such ratings. They found that 40% (26 of 65) of products did not meet American Academy of Dermatology guidelines, which include broad spectrum protection, and SPF of at least 30 and water resistance. Results, published in JAMA Dermatology, also uncovered that the price of the sunscreens varied greatly, from a low of 68 cents per ounce to a high of $23.47. Yet, the more expensive sunscreens afforded no greater protection than the cheaper ones. Read more about what to look for and what to avoid in sunscreens here. Posted July 6, 2016. Via HealthDay.

A Tennessee teenager who claimed he grew female-sized breasts after taking the antipsychotic Risperdal (risperidone) has won a $70 million verdict against a unit of Johnson & Johnson. A jury in Philadelphia found that Janssen Pharmaceuticals failed to adequately warn the teen and his parents that Risperdal could cause some men to develop large breasts and awarded him emotional damages. This is not the only lawsuit involving this side effect of Risperdal as an Alabama man two years ago was awarded $2.5 million after growing large breasts while on the drug. Johnson & Johnson still faces about 1,500 cases involving the breast side effect in Pennsylvania. Posted July 1, 2016. Via Bloomberg.


Jonathan Block

Jonathan Block

Jonathan Block is an associate editor at BioCentury, which provides news and information about the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries. Prior to joining BioCentury in 2019, Jonathan worked for MedShadow as content editor. He has been an editor and writer for multiple pharmaceutical, health and medical publications, including The Pink Sheet, Modern Healthcare, Health Plan Week and Psychiatry Advisor. He holds a BA from Tufts University and is earning an MPH with a focus on health policy from the CUNY Graduate School of Public Health & Health Policy.


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