A Federal Ban on Making Lethal Viruses Is Lifted

NYT, 19 December 2017
Author: Donald G McNeil Jr
“Federal officials on Tuesday ended a moratorium imposed three years ago on funding research that alters germs to make them more lethal. Such work can now proceed, said Dr. Francis S. Collins, the head of the National Institutes of Health, but only if a scientific panel decides that the benefits justify the risks.”
Find article here.

Too Many Older Patients Get Cancer Screenings

NYT, 19 December 2017
Author: Liz Szabo
“A growing chorus of geriatricians, cancer specialists and health system analysts say that for the best quality of life, she’d be better off skipping the screening. Such testing in the nation’s oldest patients is highly unlikely to detect lethal disease. It is also hugely expensive and more likely to harm than help, since any follow-up testing and treatment is often invasive.”
Find article here.

New Zealand bans vaginal mesh implants

The Guardian, 13 December 2017
Author: Hannah Devlin
“New Zealand has become the first major country to effectively ban vaginal mesh implants in response to safety concerns over the surgery. The country’s Ministry of Health announced on Monday that it had written to leading mesh suppliers asking them to stop marketing the products from January – or prove that their products are safe.”
Find article here.

Amos v Western NSW Local Health District; Arnold v Western NSW Local Health District [2017] NSWCATAD 359

Decision date: 6 December 2017
ADMINISTRATIVE LAW – Government information – whether disclosure could reasonably be expected to prejudice the supply of confidential information that facilitates effective exercise of agency functions – workplace investigation – human resources and patient safety functions – whether disclosure could reasonably be expected to prejudice effective exercise of agency functions – whether disclosure could reasonably be expected to disclose information provided in confidence – balancing of public interests. Personal information – whether disclosure would reveal an individual’s personal information or contravene an Information Privacy Principle – whether information already revealed – balancing of public interests.
Find decision here.

Cybersecurity Concerns and Medical Devices: Lessons From a Pacemaker Advisory

JAMA. 2017; 318(21): 2077-2078.
Authors: Daniel B. Kramer, Kevin Fu
“Medical devices increasingly include capabilities for wireless communication and remote monitoring systems that relay clinical information from patients to clinicians. For example, many cardiac implantable electrical devices can transmit data regarding arrhythmia burden and heart failure metrics with minimal patient effort. This technology can improve patient care, but also introduces possible risks to data security and patient safety.”
Find article here.

Controversial pelvic mesh devices banned in Australia by medical watchdog

SMH, 30 November 2017
Author: Ebony Bowden
“Vaginal mesh is to be banned in Australia after the medical regulator found the risk posed to patients by the device outweighed any benefits.The Therapeutic Goods Administration announced the ban this week after an investigation which followed widespread complaints from women who said the implants left them in debilitating pain.”
Find article here.

1 in 10 medical products in developing countries is substandard or falsified

WHO, 28 November 2017
Source: WHO Media Centre
“An estimated 1 in 10 medical products circulating in low- and middle-income countries is either substandard or falsified, according to new research from WHO. This means that people are taking medicines that fail to treat or prevent disease. Not only is this a waste of money for individuals and health systems that purchase these products, but substandard or falsified medical products can cause serious illness or even death.”
Find article here.

Scores of women say top UK surgeon left them with traumatic complications

The Guardian, 25 November 2017
Author: Hannah Devlin
“A group of 100 women are considering legal action against Britain’s most influential pelvic surgeon, claiming that operations he conducted left them with traumatic, life-altering complications. They claim that Anthony Dixon, a consultant colorectal surgeon at Southmead hospital in Bristol and the private Spire Bristol hospital, was too quick to recommend invasive surgical procedures to deal with pelvic problems.”
Find article here.