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Sanofi says LixiLan diabetes drug trials meet targets

France's Sanofi said on Sunday that two late-stage Phase III clinical trials of its LixiLan diabetes drug had met their targets, readying it for approval in the United States in August and Europe early next year. LixiLan consists of a single-injection combination of Lyxumia, a drug developed with Danish drugmaker Zealand Pharma, and Sanofi's Lantus. It targets patients suffering from type 2 diabetes.

Australia blames refugee advocates after asylum seeker sets herself alight

By Colin Packham SYDNEY (Reuters) – Australia blamed refugee advocates on Tuesday for “encouraging” asylum seekers held in remote camps towards acts of self-harm after a woman set herself on fire, while the United Nations renewed its criticism of Australia's harsh immigration policy. Australian officials said an unidentified 21-year-old Somali woman was in a critical condition after she set herself alight at an Australian detention camp on the tiny South Pacific island of Nauru on Monday, the second such incident in a week. A 23-year-old Iranian man also set himself on fire last week in protest against his treatment on Nauru and later died.

Colombia reports first two Zika-linked microcephaly cases

Colombian health authorities on Thursday reported the country's first two cases of microcephaly associated with Zika, the day after US scientists concluded the virus can cause babies to be born with abnormally small heads. Colombia has the second largest number of Zika cases in Latin America after Brazil, putting it on the leading edge of a mosquito-borne epidemic that has spread as far north as the United States. “Colombia confirmed the two first cases of microcephaly associated with Zika,” Colombia's public health ministry said in a statement.

Contaminated Flint water among most expensive in the U.S.: report

(Reuters) – Residents of Flint, Michigan, one of the poorest cities in the United States, paid some of the nation's highest water bills even as the city failed to treat drinking water properly, leading to lead contamination, according to a report released on Tuesday. The annual water bill in Flint as of January 2015 was $864.32 for a household using 60,000 gallons a year, said Washington-based advocacy group Food & Water Watch. The rate remained high compared with many other cities even after a judge ordered Flint to reduce its rates by 35 percent and to stop charging a service fee.

Is Chipotle a riskier place to eat? Hard to know

By Julie Steenhuysen and Tom Polansek CHICAGO (Reuters) – In recent months, Chipotle has lost customers, sales and profits after outbreaks of foodborne illnesses that sickened more than 500 people from Seattle to Boston. The burrito chain will shut its 1,900 U.S. restaurants on Monday for a meeting with employees to review a rapid overhaul of practices that it hopes will eliminate outbreaks of E. coli, Salmonella and norovirus. Food safety investigations in the United States begin – and often end – at the local level, and some states limit the disclosure of implicated restaurants, keeping diners in the dark.

U.S. investigative panel to look into drug pricing next year

By Sarah N. Lynch WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A U.S. House of Representatives investigative panel said it plans to hold a 2016 hearing on skyrocketing drug costs, a move that comes at a time when Valeant Pharmaceuticals International is facing increased scrutiny into its pricing practices. A spokeswoman for the U.S. House Committee on Oversight & Government Reform said on Monday the panel is conducting a thorough investigation into drug pricing and has reached out to drug companies to gather information. Earlier this month, the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging launched a new probe into drug pricing at Valeant and Turing, signaling growing bipartisan agreement on the need to review the rising cost of prescription drugs in the United States.

India’s Dr Reddy’s gets FDA warning on three drug plants

By Zeba Siddiqui MUMBAI (Reuters) – Dr Reddy’s Laboratories Ltd, India’s second-largest drugmaker by sales, said on Friday it has received a “warning letter” from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration over what the regulator has deemed inadequate quality control procedures at three manufacturing plants in southern India. The warning letter means Dr Reddy’s will not receive FDA approvals to sell drugs manufactured at the plants for now, a blow for business at a company which relies on the United States for a majority of its sales. The plants make a significant contribution to company sales, with one alone accounting for 10-12 percent, Dr Reddy’s said.

Bacon fans embrace the hog on cancer report, but futures take fright

“Give me two pounds of bacon,” said Roland Marks, 47, a software engineer, rolling his eyes. “I'll take my chances.” It is too early for consumer or retail market data to show what any longer term impacts of the report will be in the United States, or whether shoppers will shun the traditional Christmas ham this year, say industry analysts. The WHO took to Twitter, too, and also issued a statement to emphasize that its International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) review “does not ask people to stop eating processed meats,” but just indicates that cutting consumption can reduce the risk of colorectal cancer.

Simple coordination to slash ‘superbug’ infections

Simple coordination between hospitals, nursing homes and health authorities could slash the number of drug-resistant “superbug” infections and save thousands of US lives, experts said. Hospitals and nursing homes strive to control infections but rarely report to one another when a patient being transferred is carrying antibiotic-resistant bacteria, greatly increasing the risk of spreading infections, said a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report. “Antibiotic-resistant infections in health care settings are a growing threat in the United States, killing thousands and thousands of people each year,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden.