Direct-to-Consumer Medical Testing in the Era of Value-Based Care

JAMA. 2017; 317(24): 2485-2486.
Author: Kimberly Lovett Rockwell
“This Viewpoint documents the growing market share of direct-to-consumer (DTC) medical testing despite growing recognition that it represents low-value or harmful care and proposes policy options to increase accountability and protect patients from adverse consequences of DTC testing.”
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The case for an Indigenous Bioethics

Global Bioethics Blog, 25 June 2017
Author: Stuart Rennie
“Indigenous communities in the Americas experience a disproportionate incidence of illness and disease compared to the general population. They also possess sophisticated ethical traditions which diverge and not infrequently conflict with Western-oriented bioethics. This culture gap between patient, provider and ethicist is no small public health concern—it can foster feelings of alienation and distrust which compromise the relationship between those in need of care and those able to offer it. Research ethicists have already made considerable efforts to bring sensitivity for aboriginal cultural mores into their discipline, but bioethicists have been slower out of the gate.”
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Pharmaceutical Marketing for Rare Diseases: Regulating Drug Company Promotion in an Era of Unprecedented Advertisement

JAMA. 2017; 317(24): 2479-2480.
Authors: Sham Mailankody, Vinay Prasad
“This Viewpoint uses the recent instance of disease awareness promotion on a television soap opera to discuss questions about the role and regulation of novel forms of direct-to-consumer disease awareness marketing.”
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Homeopathy company investigated over ebook advocating treatment of babies

The Guardian, 30 June 2017
Author: Melissa Davey
“Australia’s drug regulator is investigating the promotion of an ebook that advocates homeopathic treatment for babies and toddlers, against all scientific evidence. Brauer, one of Australia’s largest homeopathy companies, promotes the Little Book of Natural Medicines for Children on its website. The book is available for download, and the website promotes the efficacy of homeopathic products. In 2015 the National Health and Medical Research Council reviewed 225 research papers on homeopathy and found it was not effective for treating any health condition.”
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NHS prescribed record number of antidepressants last year

The Guardian, 30 June 2017
Author: Denis Campbell
“The NHS prescribed a record number of antidepressants last year, fuelling an upward trend that has seen the number of pills given to patients more than double over the last decade. The figures raised questions over whether the rise shows doctors are handing out the drugs out too freely or whether it means more people are getting help to tackle their anxiety, depression and panic attacks. Prescriptions for 64.7m items of antidepressants – an all-time high – were dispensed in England in 2016.”
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Stigma and lack of awareness stop young people testing for sexually transmitted infections

The Conversation, 29 June 2017
Author: Hayley Denison
“Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) have afflicted humans for as long as records exist, but despite significant medical advances, we are not managing to keep them at bay. Instead, we see rising infection rates and even the re-emergence of some old foes, including syphilis. Young people are disproportionately affected by STIs. In New Zealand, 67% of chlamydia cases and 57% of gonorrhoea cases are among people between the ages of 15 and 24. This is not solely due to sexual behaviour. Researchers identified several barriers that stop young people from being tested for STIs.”
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Communities losing ground in war against liquor giants: experts

ABC, 30 June 2017
Author: Sophie Scott
“More than three quarters of court cases where local communities are against big alcohol stores being built are being thrown out because judges do not have to consider the health impacts of planning decisions. In the first study of its kind, researchers from the Sax Institute and the George Institute for Global Health found that in more than 75 per cent of cases across Australia, the courts found in favour of the alcohol industry. Currently, researchers said courts could consider competition and noise issues but not public health and family violence impacts.”
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Joint United Nations statement on ending discrimination in health care settings

WHO, 27 June 2017
Source: World Health Organization
“United Nations entities recall that a central principle of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is to “ensure that no one is left behind” and to “reach the furthest behind first”. Recognizing that discrimination in health care settings is a major barrier to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), United Nations entities commit to working together to support Member States in taking coordinated multisectoral action to eliminate discrimination in health care settings. Discrimination in health care settings is widespread across the world and takes many forms. It violates the most fundamental human rights protected in international treaties and in national laws and constitutions.”
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Scotland to introduce soft opt-out system for organ donation

The Guardian, 28 June 2017
Author: Severin Carrell
“Scottish ministers are to introduce a new system of organ donations based on presumed consent in an effort to increase life-saving organ transplants. The change of policy follows the introduction in Wales of a presumed consent system in December 2015, which led to a rise in organ donations and an increase in the number of families agreeing to donations. Last year there were 39 organs transplanted in Wales using its deemed consent system out of 160 organ transplants. Only 6% of people opted out of the system. The Scottish government’s decision to follow suit will increase pressure on ministers in London and possibly in Northern Ireland to introduce similar reforms. ”
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