Italy experiencing measles epidemic after fall-off in vaccinations

The Guardian, 20 April 2017
Source: Reuters
“Italy is experiencing a measles epidemic following a fall-off in vaccinations. The Italian health ministry said on Wednesday there had been almost 1,500 registered cases of measles so far this year against some 840 in all of 2016 and some 250 in 2015. The Higher Health Institute says only around 85% of two-year-olds are being vaccinated against measles at present, well below the 95% threshold recommended by the World Health Organisation to block the illness.”
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A critique of the regulation of data science in healthcare research in the European Union

BMC Medical Ethics 2017 18:27
Authors: John M. M. Rumbold, Barbara K. Pierscionek
“The EU offers a suitable milieu for the comparison and harmonisation of healthcare across different languages, cultures, and jurisdictions (albeit with a supranational legal framework), which could provide improvements in healthcare standards across the bloc. There are specific ethico-legal issues with the use of data in healthcare research that mandate a different approach from other forms of research. The use of healthcare data over a long period of time is similar to the use of tissue in biobanks. There is a low risk to subjects but it is impossible to gain specific informed consent given the future possibilities for research. Large amounts of data on a subject present a finite risk of re-identification.”
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Alberta rushed $10-million grant, eliminated ethical oversight, for unproven health program

CBC, 4 April 2017
Authors: Jennie Russell, Charles Rusnell
“Six days before Alberta Health rushed to deliver a $10-million grant to a private alternative-health foundation, the ministry abruptly changed the grant’s purpose, eliminating the need for ethics approval for what experts say was a human-subject experiment on thousands of Alberta seniors. The decision was made against the advice of officials from several ministries who had determined the Pure North program was not adequately supported by scientific evidence, could not prove the incredible health and economic benefits it claimed, and could cause adverse health effects in participants.”
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Nurofen manufacturer Reckitt Benckiser fined $6 million for misleading customers after failed High Court appeal

ABC, 5 April 2016
Author: Amy Bainbridge
“The manufacturer of Nurofen has been ordered to pay a $6 million fine for misleading consumers with its specific pain relief range, after the High Court rejected its appeal. The Federal Court found the products were misleading because they all contained the same active ingredient and did the same thing, despite claims they targeted different parts of the body. The company was initially fined $1.7 million, but that was increased to $6 million after the consumer watchdog appealed.”
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CEU v University of Technology Sydney [2017] NSWCATAD 79

Decision date: 13 March 2017
“ADMINISTRATIVE LAW – Health Privacy Principles 2, 9 and 11 of the Health Records and Information Protection Act 2003 – whether provision of health information by one administrative unit of an agency to another constitutes ‘disclosure’ – whether diagnosis of alcohol dependence accurate – whether applicant’s diary collected by agency – whether notes collected were irrelevant, excessive, inaccurate or unreasonably intrusive – whether health information disclosed as alleged on 21 May 2015 – meaning of ‘disclosure’ in Health Privacy Principle 11.”
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26 years ago the UK signed up to formula milk advertising rules – so why isn’t it law yet?

The Conversation, 22 March 2017
Author: Aimee Grant
“Like the topic of infant feeding itself, public health bills can be a minefield. Ask any mum or dad and they will tell you that parenting media in the UK is flooded with potentially misleading advertising for certain formula products. Although, NHS tells mothers that babies who are fed first infant formula need nothing more than that, there is still a wide range of “follow on” formulas available for babies over six months old. So why do manufacturers make these products, and advertise their “health benefits” if children don’t need them?”
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Australians’ attitudes to vaccination are more complex than a simple ‘pro’ or ‘anti’ label

The Conversation, 9 March 2017
Authors: Julie Leask, Margie Danchin and Nina J Berry
“Reading the headlines, it would be easy to believe childhood vaccination rates are declining in Australia, due to an increasing trend towards distrust of vaccines among parents. In fact, vaccination rates in Australia have been high and stable, hovering between 91% and 93% since 2003. Among the 7% of children who are not or not fully vaccinated across Australia, more than half have been prevented from accessing vaccination by some practical barrier. Although the numbers are small, there are good reasons to be concerned about parents who don’t vaccinate their children, or who delay getting their children’s vaccinations.”
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The fierce urgency of addressing language, literacy care barriers

AMA Wire, 7 March 2017
Author: Kevin B. O’Reilly
“In the absence of a qualified interpreter, patients with limited English proficiency (LEP) can have trouble conveying critical information about symptoms and experiences. Offering reliable access to quality language and interpretive services is one strategy for improving cross-cultural communication in health care organizations. This is one pathway to quality care and shared decision-making, which some argue is not only an urgent priority, but also a clinical, legal and ethical obligation.”
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How We Are Manipulated To Believe New Is Better When It Comes To Our Health

Forbes, 2 March 2017
Author: Robert Pearl
“What struck me was that neither medical device story presented convincing evidence that the product would make a real difference in outcomes for patients. Yet both medical devices were backed by investors with billion-dollar expectations. The applications were clever, but the promises made and the media coverage provided far surpassed what the research demonstrated.”
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