Following is a summary of current health news briefs.
Analysis: Drug industry bets on new blockbusters in 2013
LONDON/NEW YORK (Reuters) - Drugmakers are betting that a new wave of medicines for cancer, diabetes, heart disease, multiple sclerosis and hepatitis will shape up as tomorrow's blockbusters in the coming 12 months. With the industry regaining some of its swagger after winning 39 new drug approvals last year - a record only beaten in 1996 - there are signs the improving trend could continue through 2013.
Drug overdoses top AIDS as main cause of homeless deaths
BOSTON (Reuters) - Overdoses of drugs, particularly prescription pain-killers and heroin, have overtaken AIDS to become the leading cause of death of homeless adults, according to a study of homeless residents of Boston released on Monday. The finding came from a five-year study of homeless adults who received treatment from the Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program. But its broad conclusions apply to homeless populations in many urban parts of the United States, the study's author and homeless advocates said.
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GSK files for U.S. approval of new diabetes drug
LONDON (Reuters) - GlaxoSmithKline <GSK.L> said on Monday it had filed for U.S. approval of its new once-weekly diabetes drug albiglutide and would make a similar submission shortly in Europe as it vies for a share of a crowded market. Albiglutide belongs to the same class of injectable GLP-1 medicines as Victoza, from Novo Nordisk <NOVOb.CO>, and Byetta and Bydureon, from Bristol-Myers Squibb <BMY.N> and AstraZeneca's <AZN.L> Amylin unit.
Roche hires U.S. academic to revitalize research unit
ZURICH (Reuters) - Swiss drugmaker Roche <ROG.VX> has hired a leading American academic in a bid to revive part of its research operations which have struggled to shake off a string of high-profile and costly failures. The Basel-based drugmaker said on Tuesday John C. Reed, 54, chief executive at Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute in California, would take over as head of Roche's Pharma Research and Early Development - known as pRED - on April 2.
UK cost agency backs drugs for preventing breast cancer
LONDON (Reuters) - British women with a family history of breast cancer could be offered two drugs to try to prevent the disease under draft guidelines published by the country's healthcare cost watchdog. Tamoxifen and raloxifene are already approved in the United States and other countries for preventing breast cancer in high-risk patients, but they have not so far been made available as preventative therapies in Britain.
Coughs take longer to clear up than people think
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - The gap between how long people expect their cough to last and how long it actually does may drive some to the doctor for antibiotics that won't help, according to a new study. Researchers in Georgia found that survey respondents tended to expect their cough to be gone in about a week, but a review of cough studies shows the hacking takes about three weeks to clear up.
Coughs take longer to clear up than people think: study
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Patients rarely told about medication errors: study
(Reuters) - In what is likely to come as little surprise, a U.S. study has found that patients and their families are rarely told when hospitals make mistakes with their medicines. Most medication mistakes did not harm patients, the researchers said in a report published in Critical Care Medicine, but those that did were more likely to happen in intensive care units (ICUs) - with ICU patients and their families less likely to be told about errors.
Some docs screen for prostate cancer without asking
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - One in four family doctors doesn't ask male patients before screening them for prostate cancer, according to a new survey. So-called prostate specific antigen (PSA) testing has been controversial in recent years because of uncertainty about whether it actually saves lives and concern about side effects from potentially unnecessary and invasive follow-up tests and treatments.