Oct 4, 2019

Lifesaving drugs could be missing on commercial flights

Photo: Michael H/Getty Images

It's illegal for U.S. airlines to take off without a kit of lifesaving drugs on board, but the Federal Aviation Administration has been handing out exemptions because some of those drugs are facing shortages, the New York Times reports.

The big picture: Domestic and international flights must carry drugs for severe allergic reactions, cardiac arrest, irregular heart rhythm, slow heart rates and low blood sugar. In 2016, more than 50 airlines were granted 4-year exemptions from the requirement to carry all 5 drugs in the medical kit.

  • Narrower exemptions are more common.
  • Health officials are especially concerned about epinephrine or adrenaline, which can be lifesavers for the tens of millions of people with food allergies.

Yes, but: Fainting, near-fainting and gastrointestinal problems are more common in flight than other emergencies, the Times reports.

Go deeper

New drugs are launching with ever-higher prices

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The average launch prices for new brand-name drugs have skyrocketed over the past decade, according to an analysis from drug research firm 46brooklyn.

Why it matters: The U.S. prescription drug market increasingly has thrived on high initial price tags and subsequent increases. That has resulted in higher premiums and out-of-pocket costs for new drugs, as well as more expensive generics.

Go deeperArrowOct 16, 2019

The world's first drug made for only one patient

The first ultra-personalized drug — made for one patient, the only one who will ever take it — is raising all kinds of new questions about how to handle a scenario that's likely to only become more common, the New York Times reports.

Driving the news: The drug, described yesterday in the New England Journal of Medicine, treats the neurological disorder of an 8-year-old girl.

Go deeperArrowOct 10, 2019

"Unsupported" drug price hikes cost Americans billions

AbbVie's Humira manufacturing plant in Puerto Rico. Photo: AbbVie

Price hikes on 7 prominent drugs — all of them above the rate of medical inflation, none supported by clinical evidence — cost Americans more than $5 billion over the last two years, according to a new report from the Institute for Clinical and Economic Review.

Why it matters: Drugmakers weren't hiking prices because their medications were safer or more effective than when they were approved. They did it because they could.