1 in 10 medical products in developing countries is substandard or falsified

WHO, 28 November 2017
Source: WHO Media Centre
“An estimated 1 in 10 medical products circulating in low- and middle-income countries is either substandard or falsified, according to new research from WHO. This means that people are taking medicines that fail to treat or prevent disease. Not only is this a waste of money for individuals and health systems that purchase these products, but substandard or falsified medical products can cause serious illness or even death.”
Find article here.

Attacks against health care in Syria, 2015–16: results from a real-time reporting tool

The Lancet, 390(10109), p2278–2286
Authors: Mohamed Elamein, Hilary Bower, Camilo Valderrama, et al.
“The data system used in this study addressed double-counting, reduced the effect of potentially biased self-reports, and produced credible data from anonymous information. The MVH tool could be feasibly deployed in many conflict areas. Reliable data are essential to show how far warring parties have strayed from international law protecting health care in conflict and to effectively harness legal mechanisms to discourage future perpetrators.”
Find article here.

Red Cross: $6 Million Meant to Fight Ebola Was Stolen Through Fraud

Time, 6 November 2017
Authors: Clarence Roy-Macaulay, Krista Larson
“Fraud by Red Cross workers and others wasted at least $6 million meant to fight the deadly Ebola outbreak in West Africa, the organization confirmed Saturday. The revelations follow an internal investigation of how the organization handled more than $124 million during the 2014-2016 epidemic that killed more than 11,000 people in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea.”
Find article here.

Is Japan losing the fight against smoke-free legislation?

The BMJ Opinion, 24 October 2017
Author: Yusuke Tsugawa, Ken Hashimoto et al
“The WHO published a report earlier this year on the global tobacco epidemic in which it reported that comprehensive smoke-free legislation is in place to protect approximately 1.5 billion people in 55 countries. Currently, as many as 168 countries—including Japan—have signed the WHO’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC). However, Japan’s tobacco policy lags behind the FCTC’s standard and is currently ranked the lowest level for smoke-free policy in the world.”
Find article here.

Corruption Poses Critical Challenge to Global Health Efforts

JAMA. 2017;318(15):1431.
Author: M.J. Friedrich
“This article explores the scope and variety of fraudulent conduct in health services and discusses emerging anticorruption tools and interagency frameworks that could limit corruption. Data and technology can play a big role in improving transparency and accountability. Online social network platforms can be used as educational tools to increase public awareness about corruption as well as to increase citizen participation in monitoring and reporting of corruption. Efforts aimed at analysis and mining of large reimbursement data sets can also detect health care fraud.”
Find article here.

Polio outbreaks in DRC set back global efforts to eradicate the disease

The Guardian, 15 June 2017
Author: Ruth Maclean
“Two separate outbreaks of polio in the Democratic Republic of the Congo have set back global efforts to eradicate the debilitating disease. The World Health Organisation last week said the virus had also come back in Syria. But the known cases could be just the tip of the iceberg: for every case of polio that is diagnosed, epidemiologists say there are 200 “silent infections” – people who have no symptoms but can pass the disease on to others.”
Find article here.

Michigan Case Adds U.S. Dimension to Debate on Genital Mutilation

NYT, 10 June 2017
Author: Pam Belluck
“As more details emerge about the first-ever charges of female genital mutilation in the United States, the case is opening a window onto a small immigrant community, while stirring impassioned discussion about genital cutting among women who have experienced it.”
Find article here.

Online access to abortion pill may be safe alternative to clinics

Reuters, 1 June 2017
Author: Lisa Rapaport
“Women who don’t have access to reproductive health clinics can safely use telemedicine services to consult with a doctor and get drugs to terminate their pregnancy without surgery, suggests a study of Irish women. About one quarter of the world’s population lives in countries with highly restrictive abortion laws and where women may resort to unsafe methods to end pregnancies. This results in an estimated 43,000 deaths every year. The current study showed that 95 percent of the women reported successfully terminating their pregnancies without surgical intervention using medication they received in the mail after providing their medical details and consulting with a trained helpdesk team on how to use the drug.”
Find article here.

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.”
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.