Ethics Survey: Drug testing remains a clinical tug of war

Behavioural Net, 18 May 2017
Author: Julie Miller
“In recent weeks, the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) prepared comprehensive guidelines on drug testing within the continuum of care. The goal is to present evidence-based recommendations for the frequency and application of testing, which payers and providers can adopt as best practices. It’s significant because up until now, there was no true consensus. And there’s also no denying that some treatment operators have aimed to maximize their profit streams through the overuse of testing and subsequent billing of insurance companies.”
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New laws in UK ‘stifling vaping’s success’ in curbing smoking

The Guardian, 20 May 2017
Author: Jamie Doward
“Britain’s burgeoning vaping industry is warning of a rise in homemade versions of the liquids used in the devices as new laws governing their strength take effect this weekend. Vape shops warn that the health of consumers will be put at risk because people will end up buying stronger products from the black market or the internet that do not meet safety standards. The new rules include restrictions on the size of the e-cigarette tanks and refill containers that vapers can use.”
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NHS faces staggering increase in cost of elderly care, academics warn

The Guardian, 24 May 2017
Author: Sarah Boseley
“The NHS and social care system in the UK is facing a staggering increase in the cost of looking after elderly people within the next few years, according to major new research which shows a 25% increase in those who will need care between 2015 and 2025. Within eight years, there will be 2.8 million people over 65 needing nursing and social care, unable to cope alone, largely because of the toll of dementia in a growing elderly population.
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Trump Seeks Delay of Ruling on Health Law Subsidies, Prolonging Uncertainty

NYT, 22 May 2017
Author: Robert Pear
“The Trump administration asked a federal appeals court on Monday to delay ruling on a lawsuit that could determine whether the government will continue paying subsidies under the Affordable Care Act to health insurance companies for the benefit of low-income people — effectively prolonging uncertainty that is already rattling the health law.”
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Yes, Drug Laws Absolutely Hurt HIV Prevention and Treatment

NewsWeek, 17 May 2017
Author: Jessica Wapner
“When it comes to HIV risk factors, IV drug use is catching up to sex. Among people who inject drugs, an estimated 13 percent have HIV. About 30 percent of new infections outside of sub-Saharan Africa are the result of sticking dirty needles into vulnerable veins. In 2014, more than half of new HIV infections in Eastern Europe and central Asia were due to drugs. In the Middle East and northern Africa, nearly one-third of infections occurred by this route. A newly published report in Lancet HIV confirms the long-suspected assertion that the war on drugs is only making matters worse. The study provides concrete evidence that drug laws are harmful to preventing and treating HIV.”
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Italy is set to make vaccinations for school children compulsory

The Independent, 16 May 2017
Author: Harriet Agerholm
“Italy is set to ban non-vaccinated children from starting state schools “by the end of next week”, according to the country’s health minister. Revealing the plan, Ms Lorenzin said the fall in vaccinations across Italy was “an emergency generated by fake news”. Cases of measles rose more than fivefold across Italy in April compared to the same month last year, according to National Health Institute figures. Health authorities issued repeated warnings over a rise of infectious diseases in the country, as a movement against vaccinations grew.”
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Man XXX Herbal capsules pose a serious risk

TGA, 12 May 2017
Source: TGA
“Man XXX Herbal capsules pose a serious risk to your health and should not be taken. The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) has tested a product labelled Man XXX Herbal capsules and found that: the capsules contain the undeclared substance levodopa and consumers are advised that levodopa is a prescription-only substance in Australia. Man XXX Herbal capsules have not been assessed by the TGA for quality, safety or efficacy as required under Australian legislation, and the place of manufacture is not approved by the TGA. The investigations have shown that a number of people in Australia may have bought the product online.”
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Alzheimer’s experts call for changes in FDA drug approval standards

EurekAlert, 11 May 2017
Source: Researchersagainstalzheimer’s
“Leading Alzheimer’s disease researchers and a prominent patient advocate today published an analysis, “Single Endpoint for New Drug Approvals for Alzheimer’s Disease,” urging the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to clarify and modernize its current approach for approving new treatments for Alzheimer’s disease. The analysis recommends that the FDA approve new medicines that demonstrate a proven benefit on at least one therapeutic endpoint – either cognition or function. The current FDA standards require a new drug to show benefits on both proven endpoints.”
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New drugs on the PBS: what they do and why we need them

The Conversation, 4 May 2017
Author: Nial Wheate
“This week, the government announced the latest additions, amendments, and deletions from the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS): the program through which essential medicines are subsidised for Australian patients. Listing on the PBS is different to a drug being approved for sale by Australia’s drug regulator. Once approved by the TGA, it is available to patients and hospitals at the full price. It only becomes subsidised if later listed on the PBS. Some of the notable additions to the list include drugs to treat eye infections, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), cystic fibrosis, multiple sclerosis, cancer, and idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis.”
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Pfizer to give out breast cancer drug free while awaiting NHS decision

The Guardian, 5 May 2017
Author: Haroon Siddique
“A drug described as one of the most important advances in treating breast cancer in the past 20 years is to be given to women in the UK for free while the medicines regulator decides whether it should be available on the NHS. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence’s provisional decision in February that palbociclib should not be routinely funded on the NHS in England was decried by patients but its final appraisal has been paused for the drug manufacturer Pfizer to present further clinical data. In the meantime, Pfizer has said it will make palbociclib available free of charge.”
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