Health professional associations and industry funding

The Lancet, 389 (10069), p597-598, 11 February 2017
Authors: Anthony Costello, Francesco Branca, Nigel Rollins, Nigel Rollins, Marcus Stahlhofer, Laurence Grummer-Strawn
“The UK Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) announced in October, 2016, its decision to continue to accept funding from manufacturers of breast milk substitutes (BMS). This decision raises serious concerns about the college’s impartiality and sets a harmful precedent for other health professional organisations. In order to protect the credibility and the authority of professional organisations that contribute to the formulation of public policy, they need to adopt codes of conduct and practices that protect their independence from vested interests.”
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Unproven alternative medicines recommended by third of Australian pharmacists

The Guardian, 13 February 2017
Author: Melissa Davey
“Nearly one third of pharmacists are recommending complementary and alternative medicines with little-to-no evidence for their efficacy, including useless homeopathic products and potentially harmful herbal products.”
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Making headway against low value services

MJA Insight, 13 February 2017
Author: Nicole Mackee
“The push to address the use of low value, or potentially harmful, medical services is continuing to gain pace in Australia, say experts, after the Lancet published an article describing the overuse of medical services worldwide. Professor Adam Elshaug, professor of Health Policy at the University of Sydney, codirector of the Menzies Centre for Health Policy and a coleader of a Lancet series, Right Care, said Australia’s clinical community had pulled together to drive initiatives aimed at tackling inappropriate care.”
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Remote monitoring of medical devices in Australia

Med J Aust 2017; 206 (2): 62-63
Authors: Bradley Wilsmore, James Leitch
“The collection, storage and distribution of remote monitoring information by industry are not clearly regulated. Regulation is complex, given all current industry providers have offshore servers and local distribution of data. While some companies have adopted a worldwide information security management system standard (ISO 27001), regulation has been company dependent and the current system is largely self-regulated by industry at the local level. This raises further issues and may exacerbate the potential for a conflict of interest regarding industry involvement.”
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Thousands of pacemakers and defibrillators ‘at risk of hacking’

SMH, 6 February 2017
Author: Julia Medew
“Thousands of Australians with pacemakers and defibrillators in their hearts are at risk of cyber security breaches that could allow somebody to kill them, doctors say. Some cardiologists are also concerned that the multi-billion dollar medical device industry has too much control over devices being implanted in Australians, and that this could lead to over-servicing to boost profits.”
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South African scandal after nearly 100 mental health patients die

The Guardian, 2 February 2017
Source: Agence France-Presse
“At least 94 patients with mental health issues died after South African authorities moved them from hospitals to unlicensed health facilities. Many of the deaths were due to pneumonia, dehydration and diarrhoea. The centres also failed to provide seriously ill patients with enough food and water, leaving them severely malnourished, underweight and in some cases dying from dehydration.”
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Industry partnerships continue to muddy waters

Doctor Portal, 30 January 2017
Author: Sarah Colyer
“A study in JAMA Internal Medicine found that financial ties of principal study investigators increased the likelihood of positive outcomes in a random sample of 190 randomised controlled trials of drug efficacy. The prevalence of financial ties of principal investigators was 76% among positive studies and 49% among negative studies. This association remained significant after adjusting for study funding source.”
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Dentist sues patient for defamation over online review

The Age, 29 January 2017
Authors: Cameron Houston and Chris Vedelago
“A prominent Melbourne dentist has taken defamation action against a patient who posted a scathing online review after claiming he was quoted $1200 for a filling that would take only 45 minutes. The dispute is not the first occasion a Melbourne medical practitioner has taken issue with an online review and called in the lawyers.”
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Drug Makers Accused of Fixing Prices on Insulin

NYT, 30 January 2017
Author: Katie Thomas
“A lawsuit filed Monday accused three makers of insulin of conspiring to drive up the prices of their lifesaving drugs, harming patients who were being asked to pay for a growing share of their drug bills. The price of insulin has skyrocketed in recent years, with the three manufacturers — Sanofi, Novo Nordisk and Eli Lilly — raising the list prices of their products in near lock step, prompting outcry from patient groups and doctors who have pointed out that the rising prices appear to have little to do with increased production costs.”
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Is ‘big food’ political lobbying helping shape health policies at the public’s expense?

SMH, 23 January 2017
Author: Daniel Burdon
“Lobbyists for ‘big food’ are potentially swaying health policies in favour of their corporate bottom line in Australia, new research has claimed. A Deakin University study published Monday has reported finding “direct evidence” of food industry political tactics that had the potential to shape public health-related policies, at the expense of public health.”
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