Morning Read: California changing legal smoking age to 21, GSK terminating deal with Five Prime Therapeutics

Also, India’s Supreme Court has refused to hear two lawsuits filed by one of the country’s best-known whistleblowers which accused drugs and health regulators of failing to enforce safety standards.



Some real changes are being made to legally protect the health of the younger generation. California lawmakers voted to up the legal smoking age in the state to 21, which has been done in a few other cities, counties thus far. Now, they await Senate approval.

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“These actions represent the strongest steps California has taken to fight tobacco use in nearly two decades,” Matthew Myers, the campaign’s president, said in a statement. “They will protect children from tobacco addiction, save lives and help make the next generation tobacco-free.” — The Hill


India’s Supreme Court has refused to hear two lawsuits filed by one of the country’s best-known whistleblowers which accused drugs and health regulators of failing to enforce safety standards.Reuters

Five Prime Therapeutics Inc. said GlaxoSmithKline plc gave it 180-day notice that it is terminating a 2011 deal and returning rights to FP-1039, which is in a Phase Ib trial for cancer. — BioCentury

Boston-area biotech Alzheon has revived tramiprosate, a previously dormant Alzheimer’s drug, and is on the hunt for investors to help pay for two trials, run in parallel, with an estimated price tag of $100 million. — Xconomy

Industrial conglomerate Parker Hannifin Corp. has received U.S. regulatory approval to sell its motorized leg braces to people unable to walk but faces years of work to convince the insurance industry that the health benefit of the devices—at a cost of $80,000 each—are worth covering. — The Wall Street Journal

Not every country is hiking up drug prices. Officials of China’s National Health and Family Planning Commission (NHFPC) said at a press conference that they expect to negotiate discounts of at least 50% on five patent-protected drugs as part of a pilot program.

Goldman Sachs analyst Richard Yeh identified the targeted drugs as HBV therapy Viread tenofovir disoproxil fumarate from Gilead Sciences Inc.; non-small cell lung cancer drugs Iressagefitinib from AstraZeneca plc, Tarcevaerlotinib from Roche and Conmanaicotinib from Betta Pharmaceuticals Co. Ltd. (Yuhang, China); and multiple myeloma treatment Revlimidlenalidomide from Celgene Corp.

Bio Century


CMS has posted application materials for participation in the second performance year of the Next Generation Accountable Care Organization Model, which begins Jan. 1, 2017. — Becker’s Hospital Review

Federal regulators have revised their policy for automatically reducing star ratings for Medicare Advantage and Part D plans operating under immediate sanctions, a decision that will benefit health plans that have been hit by enforcement actions. — Fierce Health Payer


A Vancomycin calculator medical app has been developed to ensure safe dosing of the powerful antibiotic. — iMedicalApps

Here’s a look at what digital health should know about the CONNECT Act’s effect on telemedicine. — Rock Health


Sen. Dan Schmidt, D-Moscow, announced he’s resigning from the board of the Catastrophic Health Care Fund, on which the physician-lawmaker has served for the past five years. — The Spokesman Review

The Senate overwhelmingly passed a broad drug treatment and prevention bill, the largest of its kind since a law in 2008 that mandated insurance coverage for addiction treatment. — The New York Times

There could be a new federal agency to oversee patient safety. — The Health Care Blog


Sometimes keeping up with news gets a bit exhausting and you just want some feel-good stories. This has shown up on many sites now and shares the story of a penguin who was saved by a Brazilian man and now travels 2,000 miles each year to reunite with him. Ridiculously sweet.