Conflict of Interest: Why Does It Matter?

JAMA 2017;317(17):1717-1718
Author: Harvey V. Fineberg
“Preservation of trust is the essential purpose of policies about conflict of interest. Physicians have many important roles including caring for individual patients, protecting the public’s health, engaging in research, reporting scientific and clinical discoveries, crafting professional guidelines, and advising policy makers and regulatory bodies. Success in all these functions depends on others—laypersons, professional peers, and policy leaders—believing and acting on the word of physicians. Therefore, the confidence of others in physician judgment is of paramount importance. When trust in physician judgment is impaired, the role of physicians is diminished.”
Find article (part of a series of articles on conflict of interest in medicine) here.

Self-tests for influenza: an empirical ethics investigation

BMC Medical Ethics 2017 18:33
Authors: Benedict Rumbold, Clare Wenham, James Wilson
“In this article we aim to assess the ethical desirability of self-test diagnostic kits for influenza, focusing in particular on the potential benefits and challenges posed by a new, mobile phone-based tool currently being developed by i-sense, an interdisciplinary research collaboration based (primarily) at University College London and funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council.”
Find article here.

UK poverty has “devastating” effect on children’s health, doctors warn

BMJ, 11 May 2017
Source: BMJ 2017;357:j2285
“Poverty is damaging the health of children in the UK and must be urgently tackled by the next government. The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health and the Child Poverty Action Group, in a joint report based on an online survey of 266 paediatricians working at 90 NHS trusts in the UK, asked doctors for their views on how poverty is affecting the physical and mental health of the children they see. More than two thirds of the paediatricians surveyed said that poverty and low income contributed “very much” to ill health in children they treat.”
Find article here.

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.

A Third of Drugs Have Safety Issues After Approval

WebMD, 10 May 2017
Author: Robert Preidt
“Safety problems emerge with nearly one in three prescription drugs after they’ve been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, a new study reveals. Researchers examined data on drugs approved by the FDA between 2001 and 2010, with follow-up through 2017. The investigators found that 32 percent of the drugs had safety issues after approval.”
Find article here.

Billions saved because FDA didn’t rush approval of Alzheimer’s drug

Reuters, 10 May 2017
Author: Gene Emery
“The U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s decision not to rush approval for Eli Lilly’s experimental Alzheimer’s treatment solanezumab – a drug that turned out to be ineffective – may have saved American taxpayers as much as $100 billion over the past four years, an analysis concludes. The analysis comes amid pressure on FDA to use less-strict standards in deciding whether a drug should be approved. Some agency critics have called on the government to approve all drugs that are not toxic and let market forces determine which are best.”
Find article here.

Cigarette packaging likely to remain plain

Lexology, 8 May 2017
Author: Griffith Hack
“It appears from leaked material that the World Trade Organisation (WTO) Dispute Settlement Body (DSB) has dismissed a challenge initiated by Ukraine, Cuba, Honduras, Indonesia and Dominican Republic against Australia’s tobacco plain packaging laws. A leaked draft of the WTO DSB’s ruling has shown that it believes Australia’s laws are a legitimate public health measure, dismissing the challenges. However, the DSB’s decision is not final.”
Find article here.

Measles Outbreak Blamed on Anti-Vaccine Groups

WebMD, 9 May 2017
Source: WebMD News from HealthDay
“Vaccine skeptics are to blame for Minnesota’s largest measles outbreak in decades, health officials say. At least 48 people, nearly all children, have been infected, and 11 youngsters have been hospitalized with pneumonia and other serious complications of measles, according to the state health department. Somali immigrants have been hardest hit in the outbreak.”
Find article here.