Morning Medical Update: Research monkey shortage; COVID fourth leading cause of death; Over the counter birth control pills

The top news stories in primary care today.

morning coffee doctor hands © Alena Kryazheva -

© Alena Kryazheva -

Research monkey shortage

A shortage of monkeys used in research has prompted the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine (NIH) to ask the United States to increase its breeding programs rather than rely on international shipments. Before COVID-19, many monkeys were imported from China. “If the U.S. is to produce high-impact biomedical research and have a research infrastructure capable of responding to the next public health crisis, now is the time to strengthen the systems we need for nonhuman primate research,” committee chairman Dr. Kenneth Ramos of Texas A&M University said in a news release.

COVID fourth leading cause of death

COVID-19 has slipped to the fourth-leading cause of death in the United States, according to National Center for Health Statistics. Between 2021 and 2022 deaths dropped 47%. Now, heart disease is the leading cause (699,659 deaths), followed by cancer (607,790 deaths) and accidental injury (218,064 deaths).

Over the counter birth control pills

The Food and Drug Administration may soon approve over the counter daily birth control pills. Next week, experts will meet with a French company that makes a contraceptive called Opill and discuss the request. In the United States almost 47% of pregnancies are unplanned. Birth control pills are currently available without a prescription in over 100 countries.

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