Vaginal mesh scandal: women don’t need body-shaming on top of their pain

The Guardian, 1 October 2017
Author: Barbara Ellen
“The ongoing vaginal mesh implant scandal is a complex affair, with group lawsuits erupting all around the world, including the US, the UK and Australia. Last week, Johnson & Johnson’s Ethicon unit was ordered to pay a record $57m in damages to a woman called Ella Ebaugh. The J&J implant, launched without a clinical trial, is still marketed, often in cases involving traumatic births, years after it was known to cause appalling problems to women such as Ebaugh, including intense pelvic pain and torn bladders and vaginas, leading to agonising sex and incontinence.”
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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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Merck hack part of a massive global attack

Philly.com, 27 June 2017
Author: Chris Mondics
“A massive ransomware attack Tuesday took down computers across the globe, including the systems of the pharmaceutical firm Merck & Co., which has extensive operations in the Philadelphia area. The attack was detected at computers in Merck facilities in Pennsylvania and New Jersey around 8 a.m., and the company acknowledged it a few hours later. The attack on Merck was part of a larger digital assault worldwide.”
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Vectura signs deal with Novartis for generic U.S. lung therapy

Reuters, 28 June 2017
Authors: Esha Vaish and Martina D’Couto
“Vectura Group Plc said on Wednesday it has signed an exclusive deal with Sandoz AG, a unit of Swiss drugmaker Novartis, to develop a generic copy of an existing combined lung therapy for the U.S. market. British drugmaker Vectura has been trying to build a specialized lung drug business since it merged with Skypeharma last year. However, the firm hasn’t had it easy, following delays in its generic drug with Hikma coming onto the market, a royalties row with GSK, and delays in Novartis launching its Ultibro inhaler in the U.S. The therapy, which is expected to seek regulatory approval and then be launched in the early to mid-2020.”
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FDA moves to prevent Pharma from ‘gaming’ generic drug system

Reuters, 21 June 2017
Author: Toni Clarke
“The U.S. Food and Drug Administration moved on Wednesday to prevent pharmaceutical companies from “gaming” the system to block or delay entry of generic rivals. FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said in a blog post that the agency plans to hold a public meeting on July 18 to identify ways pharmaceutical companies are using FDA rules to place obstacles in the way of generic competition. The move comes as the President and lawmakers in Congress search for ways to lower the cost of prescription drugs.”
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Legislature passes bill to rein in drug company perks for doctors

Press Herald, 20 June 2017
Author: Joe Lawlor
“A bill that would curtail gifts, speaking and consulting fees and expensive food flowing from pharmaceutical companies to doctors has passed the Legislature and awaits the signature of Gov. Paul LePage. the goal of the bill is to ensure doctors do not have conflicting interests when prescribing drugs – especially opioids – since Maine is in the midst of an opioid crisis. Maine had 376 drug overdose deaths in 2016 – an average of about one per day – an all-time high and 40 percent higher than in 2015.”
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No evidence that $40,000 ‘miracle’ drug cures hepatitis C

Daily Mail, 9 June 2017
Author: Cheyenne Roundtree
“A medicine hailed as a ‘miracle’ drug that could eliminate hepatitis C may not actually cure the disease, a study claims. Sick patients were offered hope with a new $40,000 direct-acting antiviral drug, which boasted it could clear the virus from the blood within 12 weeks.
The staggering price of the medicine was worth it to some because the contagious liver disease can lead to cancer and death. Now researchers claim that although the drug may rid the blood of the virus there is no valid evidence that it completely rids the body of the infection.”
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Breast cancer drug that can extend lives approved for NHS use

The Guardian, 15 June 2017
Source: Press Association
“A drug that can extend the lives of women with advanced breast cancer has been approved for routine use on the NHS. A deal has been struck between NHS England and the manufacturer Roche, backed by Nice, to make the drug available to around 1,200 women a year in England. Until now, the drug has been funded only through the cancer drugs fund. In clinical trials, Kadcyla, which has a full list price of £90,000 a year per patient, was shown to extend the lives of people with terminal cancer by an average of six months. It also dramatically improves quality of life and reduces side effects.”
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Aspirin increases bleeding risk in older stroke patients: study

MedicalXpress, 14 June 2017
Source: The Lancet
“Long-term, daily use of aspirin to prevent blood clots in very elderly patients leads to an increased risk of serious or fatal internal bleeding, researchers said Wednesday. Heartburn medication would allows people 75 years and older to keep the preventative benefits of aspirin while avoiding its dangerous side-effects. Even among people with no history of heart problems or stroke, the risk of gastrointestinal bleeding goes up with age for aspirin users.”
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