26 years ago the UK signed up to formula milk advertising rules – so why isn’t it law yet?

The Conversation, 22 March 2017
Author: Aimee Grant
“Like the topic of infant feeding itself, public health bills can be a minefield. Ask any mum or dad and they will tell you that parenting media in the UK is flooded with potentially misleading advertising for certain formula products. Although, NHS tells mothers that babies who are fed first infant formula need nothing more than that, there is still a wide range of “follow on” formulas available for babies over six months old. So why do manufacturers make these products, and advertise their “health benefits” if children don’t need them?”
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Many Doctors Get Payments From Drug Companies

MedicineNet, 21 March 2017
Source: HealthDay News
“Many American doctors receive payments from drug companies, but few patients know about those financial ties, a new study finds. The study found that within the previous year, 65 percent of patients visited doctors who got payments or gifts from drug or medical device companies, but only 5 percent of the patients were aware of those doctor-industry links.”
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Crunch week looms for Sanofi, Roche and GSK at U.S. drugs agency

Reuters, 23 March 2017
Author: Ben Hirschler
“Three of Europe’s top drugmakers face critical verdicts from U.S. regulators next week, with Sanofi and Roche likely to win approvals for two new products, while GlaxoSmithKline braces for a potential generic rival. The two FDA decisions, due by March 28 and 29 respectively, mark important landmarks for both firms, since Dupixent and Ocrevus are expected to be the biggest new drug launches from the global pharmaceuticals industry in 2017.”
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(Re)disclosing physician financial interests: rebuilding trust or making unreasonable burdens on physicians?

Med Health Care and Philos (2017).
Author: Daniel Sperling
“Recent professional guidelines published by the General Medical Council instruct physicians in the UK to be honest and open in any financial agreements they have with their patients and third parties. These guidelines are in addition to a European policy addressing disclosure of physician financial interests in the industry. Similarly, In the US, a national open payments program as well as Federal regulations under the Affordable Care Act re-address the issue of disclosure of physician financial interests in America. These new professional and legal changes make us rethink the fiduciary duties of providers working under new organizational and financial schemes, specifically their clinical fidelity and their moral and professional obligations to act in the best interests of patients.”
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As biosimilars hit, EU pharma warns against blanket prescribing

Reuters, 9 March 2017
Authors: Ben Hirschlerand Edmund Blair
“European drugmakers, faced with increasing competition from cut-price copies of complex biotech drugs, cautioned doctors on Thursday to take care when switching patients from an established product to a so-called biosimilar version. The European Medicines Agency has to date approved two dozen biosimilars against just four in the United States.”
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Patient Advocacy Organizations, Industry Funding, and Conflicts of Interest

JAMA Intern Med. 2017;177(3):344-350.
Authors: Susannah L. Rose, Janelle Highland, Matthew T. Karafa
“Patient advocacy organizations engage in wide-ranging health activities. Although most PAOs receive modest funding from industry, a minority receive substantial industry support, raising added concerns about independence. Many respondents report a need to improve their conflict of interest policies to help maintain public trust.”
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Variation in the costs of surgery: seeking value

Med J Aust 2017; 206 (4): 153-154.
Authors: David J Hillis, David AK Watters, et al
“To ensure high value, the procedures performed must be appropriately indicated, avoiding overservicing or selecting a particular treatment when its likelihood of success, compared with the alternatives, is limited. Health professionals have an ethical responsibility to avoid waste in health care — not only by better targeting resources, but also because “useless tests and treatments cause harm”.
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Drug companies pay doctors, nurses $9.5 million in six months for advice, event attendance

SMH, 3 March 2017
Author: Daniel Burdon
“The giants of the global pharmaceutical industry have continued paying doctors and nurses for their advice and to attend events, shelling out at least $9.5 million in six months for such services last year.”
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More Than 80 Percent of Patient Groups Accept Drug Industry Funds, Study Shows

NYT Health, 1 March 2017
Author: Katie Thomas
“Dr. Emanuel, who previously advised President Obama on health care, said patient groups were far less transparent about conflicts of interest than medical researchers, who are now pushed to disclose ties to the drug and device industries when they write articles and make public appearances.”
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Which strings attached: ethical considerations for selecting appropriate conditionalities in conditional cash transfer programmes

Journal of Medical Ethics 2017;43:167-176.
Authors: Krubiner CB, Merritt MW
“Conditional cash transfers (CCTs) present a promising approach to simultaneously tackle chronic poverty and poor health. While these programmes clearly embody beneficent aims, questions remain regarding the ethical design of CCTs. Limited guidance exists for the ethical evaluation of the defining feature of these programmes: the conditionalities. Drawing upon prominent public health ethics frameworks and social justice theories, this paper outlines five categories of morally relevant considerations that CCT programme designers should consider when assessing which behaviours or outcomes they select as conditionalities for payment.”
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