Women urged to speak up on painful transvaginal mesh implant side effects

ABC, 31 May 2017
Author: Sophie Scott and Alison Branley
“The number of women who have experienced catastrophic side effects from a medical device used to treat prolapse after childbirth is likely to be higher than expected, experts fear. A Victorian health consumer group has conducted the first comprehensive survey of Australian women who have been treated with transvaginal mesh implants and they have received more than 1,850 responses in just six weeks, with more than 750 women saying they have had adverse effects. Reported problems from the device include incontinence, severe chronic pain, problems walking, painful intercourse and even marital breakdown.The Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care is now reviewing the use of the implants.”
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Valium recall: Worker sacked over Roche diazepam tampering

ABC News, 31 May 2017
Source: ABC News
“A worker has been sacked after the TGA issued a nation-wide recall of Roche Products’ diazepam, because the relaxant had been swapped out for different drugs at a Sydney distribution centre. Roche said the incident occurred at a distribution centre, and this afternoon, Symbion Contract Logistics released a statement saying they had sacked a worker at its Sydney-based distribution facility.”
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Sigma shares plunge on legal wrangle

News, 24 May 2017
Author: Melissa Jenkins
“Sigma Healthcare is planning legal action against the My Chemist/ Chemist Warehouse Group over an alleged breach of a supply agreement, sparking a dive in its share price. Sigma said its proposed action relates to the My Chemist/ Chemist Warehouse Group’s intention to obtain certain products from another wholesaler, which Sigma maintains it is not entitled to do under their existing agreement.”
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French drugmaker Servier to face trial over weight-loss Mediator

Reuters, 24 May 2017
Authors: Simond Carraud, Matthias Blamont, Emmanuel Jarry and Leigh Thomas
“The Paris prosecutor’s office said on Wednesday that drugmaker Servier as well as the French drug regulator should face trial over weight-loss pill Mediator, believed to have caused at least 500 deaths in one of France’s worst health scandals. Once licensed as a diabetes treatment, the drug was widely prescribed as an appetite suppressant to help people lose weight. The prosecutor’s indictment covers charges of misleading claims as well as manslaughter and targets 14 people as well as 11 institutions including Servier and the French drug regulator ANSM.”
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Deadly brain infection in German MS patient prompts Roche investigation

Reuters, 24 May 2017
Authors: John Miller, Bill Berkrot, Greg Mahlich and Lisa Shumaker
“A person in Germany treated with Roche Holding AG’s new multiple sclerosis drug Ocrevus has been diagnosed with an often-deadly brain infection after switching from another medication earlier this year. Roche said it was investigating a case of Progressive Multifocal Leukoencephalopathy (PML) in a patient previously being treated for three years with Biogen Inc’s Tysabri and who had received a single dose of Ocrevus in February. Ocrevus was approved in the United States in March.”
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EU probes Aspen price gouging allegations

PharmaPhorum, 16 May 2017
Author: Richard Staines
“The European Commission is to investigate into whether South Africa’s Aspen abused a dominant market position by raising the price of a group of generic cancer drugs. Pharma pricing is already under scrutiny in the US, where president Trump has vowed to take action against high drug prices. But now authorities across the Atlantic are also concerned over so-called “price gouging”, where companies impose significant price rises for badly needed drugs.”
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Novartis, slammed by Korean scandal, tweaks its ethics, compliance policies

FiercePharma, 15 May 2017
Author: Eric Sagonowsky
“Rocked by a corruption scandal in Korea and facing a kickbacks probe in Greece, Novartis says it’s strengthening and simplifying its global ethics and compliance approach. Last month, Korean authorities handed out a $50 million fine and suspended coverage on several Novartis meds in relation to a bribery probe in the country. Novartis employees conducted a kickbacks scheme through medical journal-sponsored meetings, with the total spent on bribes estimated to be $2.3 million, according to officials. Last year, Novartis agreed to a $25 million settlement with U.S. authorities to put to rest a bribery investigation in China.”
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The Unusual Case of Ian Paterson and Criminally Harmful Surgery

BMJ Blog, 9 May 2017
Author: Iain Brassington
“The “obscure motives” that compelled Paterson may forever remain a mystery but it is interesting that the charges against him relate only to patients he treated in his private practice. This enabled the prosecution to create a narrative that suggested that financial gain could have been the motivating factor for Paterson’s crimes. Without greed as a possible motive his actions are baffling, and the prosecution’s case, in alleging that surgery which Paterson argued was performed in the patient’s best interests actually constituted GBH or unlawful wounding, would be more challenging because of the medical context of the allegations. Importantly, the medical exception to the criminal law – the principle that consensual surgery carried out by qualified professionals is legitimate (“proper medical treatment”) – means that there is an assumption that harm caused by surgery is not a matter for the criminal law because it is a risk that we accept in order to enjoy the benefits of surgical medicine.”
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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.”
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Blood disaster: Families search for the truth

BBC, 10 May 2017
Source: BBC News
“Jason Evans’ father died after being infected with HIV through treatment with contaminated blood. Now in what is understood to be the first case of its kind, Jason is taking legal action against the government for its role in his father’s death. More than 2,000 people – mostly haemophiliacs – have died after being infected with HIV and hepatitis C through blood treatments. The victims were infected over 25 years ago, in what has been called the worst treatment disaster in the history of the NHS.”
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