National guidelines oppose push to allow parents to choose sex of IVF babies

SMH, 20 April 2017
Author: Kate Aubusson
“Australia’s peak medical council has knocked back a push to allow parents to choose the gender of their baby in new national guidelines. On Thursday, the NHMRC banned clinics from offering gender selection for non-medical purposes in its long-anticipated guidelines for assisted reproductive technologies (ART). But the National Health and Medical Research Council left the door open for future changes, suggesting sex selection may be ethical.”
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Italy experiencing measles epidemic after fall-off in vaccinations

The Guardian, 20 April 2017
Source: Reuters
“Italy is experiencing a measles epidemic following a fall-off in vaccinations. The Italian health ministry said on Wednesday there had been almost 1,500 registered cases of measles so far this year against some 840 in all of 2016 and some 250 in 2015. The Higher Health Institute says only around 85% of two-year-olds are being vaccinated against measles at present, well below the 95% threshold recommended by the World Health Organisation to block the illness.”
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Mammogram Guidelines Have Changed, But Are Doctors Listening?

MedicineNet, 10 April 2017
Author: Dennis Thompson
“Four of five doctors still recommend annual mammograms for women in their early 40s, despite guideline changes that have pushed back the age for yearly breast cancer screening, a new survey shows. The doctors also are ignoring the advice of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF), a volunteer body that helps set standards for preventive care. The USPSTF recommends that women aged 50 to 74 receive mammograms every other year.”
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‘Gamechanging’ cancer drug rejected for use on NHS

The Guardian, 11 April 2017
Author: Sarah Boseley
“A ‘gamechanging’ immunotherapy drug that can extend the life of patients with advanced head and neck cancer has been turned down for use in the NHS because of its high cost. Although nivolumab drug can give people with advanced head and neck cancers an extra three months of life, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) has rejected it. Nice believes nivolumab would cost between £66,000 to £75,000 per year of quality life.”
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Labor to fight anti-vaccination child care centres

Daily Telegraph, 4 April 2017
Author: Kirstie Chlopicki
“NSW Labor will fight to put a stop to legal loopholes and ban anti-vaccination child care centres across the state. As part of the legislation introduced to the NSW Parliament this week, the opposition will seek to remove the “conscientious objector clause” from the Public Health Act, to prevent unvaccinated children being enrolled in childcare centres. The bill will retain the specialist provision for children who cannot be vaccinated due to a medical condition such as a specialised cancer treatment.”
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Modernizing And Strengthening Existing Laws To Control Drug Costs

Health Affairs Blog, 31 March 2017
Authors: Tim Horn, Sean Dickson
“If President Trump truly intends to control drug costs, we offer four proposals that leverage existing drug pricing systems to reduce prices for both public and private payers; in this Blog post, we will describe two of the proposals in depth.”
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Medical Liability — Prospects for Federal Reform

NEJM, 29 March 2017
Author: Michelle M. Mello, Allen Kachalia, David M. Studdert
“Medical malpractice reform appears to be back on the federal policy agenda. The appointment of Tom Price, a long-time proponent of tort reform, as secretary of health and human services, in conjunction with Republican control of both houses of Congress, has created fertile conditions for several Republican proposals that have languished for years without the requisite support. Although it has been debated many times, a major federal foray into medical liability, a state-based area of law, would be unprecedented. The prospect raises several questions: Which reforms are on the table? Would they be effective? And is the time right?”
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California Doctors Again Press For More Money To Treat Poor Patients

KHN, 30 March 2017
Author: Barbara Feder Ostrov
“California’s doctors and dentists have renewed their push for more money to treat Medicaid patients now that the state has been spared the drastic cuts proposed under the failed GOP health care bill. Some health advocates say they have other priorities for improving the low-income health program, which serves some 14 million residents, or about a third of the state’s population.”
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Global systematic review of Indigenous community-led legal interventions to control alcohol

BMJ Open 2017; 7:e013932.
Authors: Muhunthan J, Angell B, Hackett ML, et al
“The national and subnational governments of most developed nations have adopted cost-effective regulatory and legislative controls over alcohol supply and consumption with great success. However, there has been a lack of scrutiny of the effectiveness and appropriateness of these laws in shaping the health-related behaviours of Indigenous communities, who disproportionately experience alcohol-related harm. Further, such controls imposed unilaterally without Indigenous consultation have often been discriminatory and harmful in practice.”
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“I’m Willing To Try Anything”: Compassionate Use Access To Experimental Drugs And The Misguided Mission Of Right-To-Try Laws

Health Affairs Blog, 27 March 2017
Authors: Amy Scharf, Elizabeth Dzeng
“Beneath its seemingly altruistic and uncontroversial veneer, the Compassionate Use program has been a lightning rod for intense legal, legislative, and public policy controversies, many of which have been framed as ‘libertarian vs. regulatory’ battles between those who wish to allow patients freer, even unrestricted, access to experimental drugs (often by changing or limiting the role of the FDA), and those who prefer a more measured, rigorous approach to dispensing unproven and potentially dangerous therapies.”
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