Sydney grandmother who died after nurse’s error was already ‘at death’s door’, court hears

SMH, 22 February 2015
Author: Paul Bibby
“A Sydney grandmother who died in hospital after a nurse crushed up three different oral tablets and put them into her IV-drip was already “at death’s door”, a court has heard. But prosecutors say the nurse’s actions grossly breached her duty of care and she should be convicted of manslaughter, a result that could see her sent to jail.”
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Regulator of Medicinal Cannabis Bill 2014

Legal and Constitutional Affairs Legislation Committee, Parliament of Australia, online
“On 12 February 2015, the Senate referred the Regulator of Medicinal Cannabis Bill 2014 to the Legal and Constitutional Affairs Legislation Committee for inquiry and report. The closing date for submissions is 13 March 2015. The reporting date is 21 April 2015.
The bill: establishes a Regulator of Medicinal Cannabis to be responsible for formulating rules and monitoring compliance with those rules for licensing the production, manufacture, supply, use, experimental use and import and export of medicinal cannabis; and provides for a national system to regulate the cultivation, production and use of medicinal cannabis products, and related activities such as research.”
Find Bill inquiry information here.

Why Big Pharma Must Cure Its Bad Rap

Forbes, 18 February 2015
Author: Arlene Weintraub
“The 2015 Harris corporate reputation poll is out and the news for Big Pharma isn’t good, to say the least. In the poll—which measures the “reputation quotient” of the most visible American companies among the general public—Big Pharma ranked ninth out of 14 industries and was right in line with insurance companies and airlines when it comes to respect, or lack thereof. It may seem surprising that the public has no more love for the manufacturers of important and sometimes life-saving therapies than it does for the companies that routinely leave passengers stranded for hours at the airport.”
Find article here.

Mesoblast refuses to rule out share raising

SMH, 12 February 2015
Author: Brian Robins
“Regenerative medicine group Mesoblast has refused to rule out raising fresh funds from the sharemarket as it continues to burn about $25 million a quarter in its stem cell research programs. However, the preferred option is to pursue partnerships with other drug companies.”
Find article here.

Spanish special forces dismantle parallel trade network that caused drug shortages

BMJ 2015;350:h490
Author: Aser García Rada
“A network of dozens of pharmacies across Spain that were used to store drugs for sale into markets across Europe at large profits has been dismantled in what the Civil Guard has called Operation Noisa. A total of 49 people, including 12 pharmacists, have been arrested, and six warehouses and around 60 pharmacies across Spain have been raided in the operation.”
Find extract here.

Gilead faces challenge to European patent on pricey hep C drug

Reuters, 10 February 2015
Author: Kate Kelland
“Global health charity Medecins du Monde (MdM) launched a legal challenge on Tuesday to a European patent held by U.S. drugmaker Gilead Sciences Inc which it accused of charging “exorbitant” prices for a hepatitis C drug. Arguing that Gilead is “abusing” its patent on Sovaldi, known generically as sofosbuvir, MdM said its challenge marked the first time in Europe a medical charity has used this method to try and improve patients’ access to medicines.”
Find article here.

Ethics debate rages on over pharmaceuticals in B.C.

The Vancouver Sun, 6 February 2015
Author: Lori Culbert
“British Columbia stopped paying this week for a popular diabetes drug, prompting frustrated physicians to accuse the government of potentially jeopardizing the health of patients so it can save money. In response, the government said some of those doctors were in a possible conflict of interest, because of associations with the drug company that manufactures the diabetes drug.”
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EU to suspend hundreds of drug authorisations after doubts over clinical studies in Hyderabad

BMJ 2015;350:h574
Author: Rory Watson
“The European Commission is preparing to suspend the marketing authorisations for more than 700 generic drugs after serious doubts emerged over the validity of the clinical studies conducted by GVK Biosciences in Hyderabad, India. The decision, which is expected within the next three to four weeks, will be legally binding.. throughout the 28 member European Union.”
Find extract here.

Drug Makers’ Data on Side Effects Is Called Lacking in a Report

NYT, 2 February 2015
Author: Katie Thomas
“The main system for keeping track of the dangerous side effects of prescription drugs is deeply flawed, primarily because drug makers are submitting incomplete information about the problems to the Food and Drug Administration, according to a new study by a nonprofit group that tracks drug safety issues.”
Find article here.