The Government of Canada has now made six deals to acquire COVID-19 vaccines currently in development. The deals secure about 280 million doses (most vaccines will require 2 injections) at an estimated cost of $1 billion (Harris K. CBC, 25 September 2020). Monies paid are to ensure a supply of vaccine and will not be fully refunded if the vaccines are ineffective or fail to receive Health Canada approval (Canadian Press, 22 September 2020). All of the vaccines are in late-stage development but none has yet demonstrated efficacy.
A number of new drugs for neurology and psychiatry are currently in review with regulatory authorities in the U.S. and Canada. The following summarizes some of the key therapies expected to be approved in 2020. Read More
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has granted Expanded Access to methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA)-assisted psychotherapy for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), enabling some patients to undergo treatment before the drug is formally authorized. MDMA, known by the street names Ecstasy and Molly, was developed and patented by E. Merck (now EMD Serono) a century ago. It was used as an empathogen in psychotherapy during the 1970s but was labelled as a Schedule I controlled substance (no medical use) in 1985.
The year 2019 saw two novel antidepressants receive FDA approval amid a series of disappointing phase III trials.
A researcher in Japan has raised a seasonally timely question: what if Santa Claus had a communicable disease as he made his rounds (Furuse Y. Med J Aust 2019;211:523-524)?