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Medicine’s Big Moves

2 minute read

High-tech mammograms

Recent studies suggest that 3-D mammography is a highly accurate breast-cancer-screening tool. Not all hospitals and doctors offer it yet, but all signs point to its becoming much more common in 2015. Hologic, one of two U.S. companies selling 3-D-mammogram machines, says there’s now at least one device in all 50 states.

Better sunscreen

In late 2014, President Obama signed into law the Sunscreen Innovation Act that will require the FDA to quickly respond to pending ingredient applications that have been waiting for a response for over a decade. By summer, there’s a good chance that Americans will have more effective sunscreens to choose from.

A new heart treatment

The drug company Novartis has submitted for approval a new heart-failure drug, LCZ696, that may replace ACE inhibitors, the current standard of care. A recent clinical trial ended early when it was clear LCZ696 saved more lives. Novartis says FDA approval is expected in the second half of 2015.

Way more calorie counts

In late 2014, the FDA unveiled new rules requiring chains with more than 20 locations–including restaurants, movie theaters and amusement parks–to display calorie tallies for all their foods. Companies were given a year to comply, so expect to start seeing more of these kinds of labels as 2015 wears on.

Promising new cholesterol drugs

The FDA is expected to approve drugs called PCSK9 inhibitors, which were shown in trials to be effective alternatives for people who do not tolerate statins, the common heart medication. No other drug has been shown to lower cholesterol as well as PCSK9 inhibitors, and several companies are developing their own versions.

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