A summary of important health news from the past week.
Hurricane Maria, a category 5 storm, has had some devastating effects on many islands throughout the Caribbean. In the Commonwealth of Dominica, the hurricane destroyed the healthcare infrastructure. Maria killed 15 and injured many others in addition to leaving the island’s main hospital without power for several days.
People Are Living Longer, But Violent Deaths Are On The Rise
A recent study published in The Lancet found that deaths caused by conflict, terrorism, and gun violence have increased greatly in the last ten years. In 2016, there were 150,500 reported deaths attributed to war and terrorism. This is a 143% increase from the numbers reported in 2006, and many of these deaths resulted from conflict in the Middle East and North Africa.
By: Shamard Charles, M.D.
President and CEO of CVS Health, Larry J. Merlo, announced CVS is, "further strengthening [their] commitment to help providers and patients balance the need for powerful medications with the risk of abuse and misuse.” This entails limiting opioid prescription to a seven-day supply, as well as mandating that pharmacists filling the prescriptions speak to patients about risks of addiction, secure storage of medications in the home and proper disposal. This initiative to control opioid abuse is planned to roll out February 1, 2018.
Alarm as 'super malaria' spreads in South East Asia
"Super malaria", a strain that is resistance to anti-malaria drugs, is sweeping South East Asia. It first emerged in Cambodia and is now prevalent in Thailand, Laos, and Vietnam. Researchers published a letter in The Lancet Infectious Disease, describing the new strain and noting that growing resistance to the drug could be catastrophic and makes the effort to eradicate malaria more pressing.
The world is running out of antibiotics, WHO says
On Tuesday, the World Health Organization (WHO) published a report stating that there are not enough new antibiotic treatments being produced in order to fight the twelve distinct families of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Researchers are working on creating biologicals - or medicines made from natural sources - which could prevent bacteria from becoming resistant to treatment. The problem, Bill Hanage - an assistant professor at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health - argues, is that drugs for humans have to pass three phases. Those drugs only have a 14% of passing all three, making it very difficult for new drugs to make their way into pharmacies.
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