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.”
Find article here.

Illinois lawmakers delay bill to expand abortion as veto looms

Reuters, 11 May 2017
Author: Timothy Mclaughlin
“Democratic lawmakers in Illinois on Thursday said they have placed on hold a bill that expands state-funded coverage of abortions for low-income residents and state employees but faces a likely veto from the state’s Republican governor. The bill also aims to keep abortions legal in Illinois. The Illinois’ Medicaid program covers abortions in cases of rape, incest and when a mother’s life or health is threatened. The expansion would enable poor women to obtain elective abortions. Also, the legislation would allow state employees to have the procedures covered under state health insurance.”
Find article here.

Blood disaster: Families search for the truth

BBC, 10 May 2017
Source: BBC News
“Jason Evans’ father died after being infected with HIV through treatment with contaminated blood. Now in what is understood to be the first case of its kind, Jason is taking legal action against the government for its role in his father’s death. More than 2,000 people – mostly haemophiliacs – have died after being infected with HIV and hepatitis C through blood treatments. The victims were infected over 25 years ago, in what has been called the worst treatment disaster in the history of the NHS.”
Find article here.

Venezuela’s infant mortality, maternal mortality and malaria cases soar

The Guardian, 10 May 2017
Source: Reuters
“Venezuela’s infant mortality rose 30% last year, maternal mortality shot up 65% and cases of malaria jumped 76%, according to government data, sharp increases reflecting how the country’s deep economic crisis has hammered at citizens’ health. The statistics also showed a jump in illnesses such as diphtheria and Zika. In the health sector, doctors have emigrated in droves, pharmacy shelves are empty, and patients have to settle for second-rate treatment or none at all. A leading pharmaceutical association has said roughly 85% of medicines are running short.”
Find article here.

Abortion law in NSW radically out of step with opinion and practice

SMH, 10 May 2017
Author: Julie Hamblin
“When the NSW Parliament debates the abortion law reform bill on Thursday, politicians could well reflect on why, in 2017, a bill to take abortion out of the Crimes Act should even be considered controversial. Of course minds differ about the morality of abortion, as one would expect in any society of diverse faiths, but that abortion is still a crime in NSW, punishable by up to 10 years imprisonment, is a sad reminder of how poorly our laws keep pace with social opinion.”
Find article here.

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.”
Find article here.

Doctors reject changes on generic drugs which could save almost $2 billion

ABC News, 2 May 2017
Author: Andrew Probyn
“Australians will increasingly find themselves prescribed generic drugs rather than the big-name brands, under changes to be unveiled in next week’s budget. It is understood that the Government intends to change the prescribing software used by doctors, with the default setting switched to the active ingredient. GPs would still be able to prescribe particular brands but under the new “opt out” regime, they would have to actively nominate a drug other than the generic name.”
Find article here.

Life Expectancy Goes Up for Black Americans

WebMD, 2 May 2017
Author: Steven Reinberg
“Black Americans are living longer, but they still aren’t living as long as whites are, federal health officials reported Tuesday. While the overall death rate among black people dropped 25 percent between 1999 and 2015, the average life expectancy among black Americans still lags behind whites by almost four years. The gap in early death rates between blacks and whites is closing due to improved health of the black population overall.”
Find article here.

Exodus By Puerto Rican Medical Students Deepens Island’s Doctor Drain

KHN, 1 May 2017
Author: Carmen Heredia Rodriguez
“Studying medicine is a popular option among young Puerto Ricans. Acceptance rates at the commonwealth’s four medical schools are low and competition runs high. For example, Ponce Health Sciences University received 1,200 applications for its medicine program in the 2015-16 academic year. It accepted 180. But many of those graduates are leaving the island for better work opportunities, despite Puerto Rico’s growing and urgent health needs.”
Find article here.

Brexit regulatory uncertainty ‘threatens UK med tech’

Reuters, 2 May 2017
Authors: Ben Hirschler, Susan Fenton
“Regulatory uncertainty in the wake of Brexit could leave Britain’s multi-billion-pound medical technology industry out in the cold, with separate regulatory systems threatening exports and jobs. In a new report, the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IME) called on the British government to harmonize its post-Brexit rules with EU regulations on medical devices – a category covering everything from heart stents to walking aids – or risk losing billions of pounds in exports.”
Find article here.