On the 26th of August, for its part in driving Oklahoma’s spiralling opioid-epidemic, Johnson & Johnson was ordered to pay $572 million in a court-ruling against the pharma-conglomerate. The case follows similar trials against several major pharmaceutical-firms accused of aggressively marketing opioids as low-risk solutions whilst undermining their high potential for addiction, including Teva Pharmaceuticals and OxyContin-maker Purdue Pharma, which has offered up to $12 billion to settle more than 2, 000 lawsuits across 48 US states. Continue reading “An Addicted Nation: How can data-driven policies transform the U.S. opioid epidemic?”
On the 17th of July, the World Health Organisation (WHO) announced that the ongoing Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) had been classified a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC), in a statement many considered long overdue. The declaration was intended to raise global awareness on the second-worst Ebola outbreak in history among world governments and to energise a coordinated international response to contain the spread of the highly fatal disease. The current DRC outbreak, which surfaced in August 2018, infected more than 2500 people in the DRC with 1650 confirmed deaths. The declaration highlights growing worldwide concerns about aid agencies’ inability to bring the Ebola virus under control whilst operating in conflict-ravaged regions of north-eastern DRC, 11 months after the initial outbreak.