Reuters Health News Summary

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Following is a summary of current health news briefs.

China to use drug bulk-buy program to close price gap

China will use its national drug bulk-buy scheme to lower the price of drugs currently sold at higher prices compared with other markets, it said in an official statement. The move could force international drugmakers to further cut prices and enable copycat medicines to replace imported off-patent brands at faster pace.

Samoa in Christmas lockdown as measles deaths top 50

The small Pacific island nation of Samoa has closed schools and is restricting travel ahead of the Christmas holiday season as the death toll from a measles outbreak tops 50, in the latest flare-up of a global epidemic of the virus. The highly infectious disease has been crossing the globe, recently finding a susceptible population in Samoa, where vaccine coverage was only about 31% when measles took hold, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

Samoa measles cases, deaths more than double over past week

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The number of suspected cases of measles on the Pacific island of Samoa has more than doubled over the past week to 3,530 and deaths related to the outbreak rose to 48 from 20 a week ago, the country's Ministry of Health said on Sunday. Samoa has become vulnerable to measles outbreaks as the number of people becoming immunized has declined with the World Health Organisation (WHO) saying vaccine coverage is just about 31%.

Bangladesh plans to ban e-cigarettes amid growing health concerns

Bangladesh plans to prohibit the sale and use of electronic cigarettes and vaporizers, a health official said on Sunday, as countries around the world move to ban devices that have been linked to health risks and teen addiction. "We are actively working to impose a ban on the production, import and sale of e-cigarettes and all vaping tobaccos to prevent health risks," Shaikh Yusuf Harun, Secretary at the health education and family welfare division of the Ministry of Health and Familywelfare, told Reuters.

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