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Brainstorm Health: Eclipse Glasses, FDA Approves Pfizer Leukemia Drug, MS Drug Prices

August 18, 2017, 4:00 PM UTC

Good morning and happy Friday, readers! This is Sy.

You’ve almost certainly heard about the total solar eclipse set to occur on Monday, August 21. The rare event will be visible in certain regions within more than a dozen states.

But, even with cosmic events, it’s important to put safety first. And when it comes to staring into the sun, that means protecting your eyes with special gear.

Unfortunately, some would-be viewers could have a bit of a problem with that. There have been reports of unauthorized eyewear that have led to recalls and suggestions from county officials in Richland, South Carolina (one of the areas where the eclipse will be visible in its totality) to seek “other options” than the free glasses made available if people feel uncomfortable. There have also been counterfeit pairs sold on Amazon (for which the company has offered refunds).

The American Astronomical Society (AAS) has an approved list of vendors for solar filters.

Read on for the day’s news, and enjoy your weekend!

Sy Mukherjee


IBM to team up with JDRF on type 1 diabetes. IBM and JDRF, an outfit focused on funding type 1 diabetes research, are teaming up to analyze the factors that may lead to that form of diabetes. The collaboration will involve creating machine learning methods which can analyze mountains of existing type 1 diabetes research in order to figure out risk factors and, hopefully, effective prevention measures.


FDA clears Pfizer drug for rare, fast-spreading cancer. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved Pfizer's Besponsa, a drug to treat a rare and vicious form of leukemia that can quickly kill patients. Besponsa is approved for adults with hard-to-treat or recurring forms of B-cell precursor acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), which nearly 6,000 Americans are diagnosed with each year. (Fortune)

House Democrats push for explanation of high MS drug prices. House Democratic lawmakers have launched an investigation into pricing for multiple sclerosis drugs. Seven companies, including pharmaceutical giants like Biogen, Sanofi, Novartis, and Roche, have received letters from the House Government Oversight Committee requesting information on their pricing strategies. (Fortune)


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World Stocks Tumble As Market Hopes in Trump's Reform Agenda Fadeby Fortune Editors and Reuters

Produced by Sy Mukherjee

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