Trump names Eric Hargan as acting Health Secretary

Trump names Eric Hargan as acting Health Secretary President Donald Trump has appointed Eric Hargan as acting Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS), the White House said on Tuesday. Hargan, the deputy secretary of HHS, formerly served on Trump’s transition team for HHS. Trump says he’s likely to sign healthcare order this week President Donald Trump said on Tuesday he likely will sign an order this week that is expected to allow Americans to buy stripped-down health insurance policies, a step some experts say would further undermine the Obamacare law that Trump opposes. Unable to win passage of legislation to dismantle the 2010 law in a Congress led by his own party, Trump indicated he would take unilateral action. He offered few specifics beyond saying his action would let people cross state lines to obtain “great, competitive healthcare” costing the United States “nothing.” Lilly’s breast cancer drug fails to help lung patients Eli Lilly and Co said its recently approved breast cancer drug failed to meet a late-stage trial’s main goal of improving overall survival in patients with non-small cell lung cancer. The news comes as a blow to the drugmaker, which has suffered setbacks on two potential blockbuster treatments over the past year – the delay of a rheumatoid arthritis drug, as well as the failure of an experimental Alzheimer’s treatment. Pfizer weighs $15 billion sale of consumer healthcare business Pfizer said on Tuesday it was considering the sale or spin-off of its consumer healthcare business, shaking up the industry and potentially putting a headache pill to lip balm operation worth some $15 billion up for grabs. The move comes as Germany’s Merck KGaA is also looking to divest its non-prescription products, including brands such as Seven Seas vitamins, which could be worth around $4.5 billion. Pharma’s Puerto Rico problems could mean drug shortages: FDA chief The head of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said on Tuesday the country may start to see a small number of drug shortages within two or three weeks due to delays in restoring manufacturing operations in Puerto Rico, where 10 percent of drugs prescribed in the United States are made. Hurricane Maria slammed into the Caribbean island on Sept. 20, knocking out electricity and causing widespread damage to homes and infrastructure. Almost three weeks later, just 16 percent of electricity service has been restored to the U.S. territory. Tests showing low egg reserves not linked to infertility Lab tests showing that women have low reserves of eggs in their ovaries may not necessarily mean they will struggle to get pregnant, a U.S. study suggests. For the study, researchers examined results from blood and urine tests for so-called biomarkers that indicate ovarian reserve, or egg supply, in 750 women ages 30 to 44. Many patients remain confused about medical hierarchy Patients continue to be confused about the roles and responsibilities different doctors play in their health care, new research confirms. In a new study, gynecology patients receiving treatment at a teaching hospital did not fully understand the differences between an attending physician, a resident doctor and a medical student. Philips sees profit hit from U.S. defibrillator blow Health technology company Philips is suspending the manufacture of some defibrillators in the United States and will make others under heightened scrutiny following criticisms from U.S. regulators, in a move it said would dent profits. The Dutch company said on Wednesday it expected a hit of 20 million euros ($24 million) to earnings before interest, taxes and amortization (EBITA) in the fourth quarter of 2017, and a 60 million euro impact for the whole of 2018. Child and teen obesity soars tenfold worldwide in 40 years: WHO report The number of obese children and adolescents worldwide has jumped tenfold in the past 40 years and the rise is accelerating in low- and middle-income countries, especially in Asia, a major study said on Wednesday. Childhood and teen obesity rates have leveled off in the United States, north-western Europe and other rich countries, but remain “unacceptably high” there, researchers at Imperial College London and the World Health Organization (WHO) said. Can insulin pumps work better than injections for kids with diabetes? Children and teens with type 1 diabetes who use insulin pumps may have better-controlled blood sugar and fewer complications than youth who inject insulin, a new study suggests. Type 1 diabetes is a lifelong condition that develops when the pancreas produces little or no insulin, a hormone needed to allow blood sugar to enter cells and produce energy. People with the condition usually have to test their own blood sugar level throughout the day and inject insulin to manage it; otherwise they risk complications like heart disease and kidney damage.

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Mareeg senior news editor since 2001 and he can be reached at news@mareeg.com