How do we choose who gets the flu vaccine in a pandemic – paramedics, prisoners or the public?

The Conversation, 24 May 2017
Author: Connal Lee
“Ideally, everyone who needs to be immunised against influenza has access to the flu vaccine. But in a pandemic, initially there will be more people needing protection than there are doses. The potential impact of a pandemic is difficult to predict. In a pandemic, vaccines may not be available immediately and could take four to six months to produce. Once available, difficult distribution decisions arise. So how do authorities decide who to vaccinate first? Is it based on who’s most vulnerable? Who would benefit most? Or are other factors at play?”
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In Bold Move, FDA Approves Cancer Drug For Any Advanced Tumor With Genetic Changes

Forbes, 23 May 2017
Author: Elaine Schattner
“For the first time, the FDA has approved a drug for use in cancer—of any type—that harbors certain molecular features. Merck’s Keytruda, an immune oncology drug, may be prescribed for any resistant, metastatic tumor with microsatellite instability (MSI) or other evidence for defective DNA mismatch repair. This is good news for patientsby trying this medication if they have advanced cancer of any form with pathological MSI or DNA mismatch repair defects.”
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New laws in UK ‘stifling vaping’s success’ in curbing smoking

The Guardian, 20 May 2017
Author: Jamie Doward
“Britain’s burgeoning vaping industry is warning of a rise in homemade versions of the liquids used in the devices as new laws governing their strength take effect this weekend. Vape shops warn that the health of consumers will be put at risk because people will end up buying stronger products from the black market or the internet that do not meet safety standards. The new rules include restrictions on the size of the e-cigarette tanks and refill containers that vapers can use.”
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Disease-awareness ads lead to overdiagnosis, boost Rx sales

ModernHealthcare, 22 May 2017
Author: Alex Kacik
“Ads that try to bring awareness of diseases boost prescription drug sales and over diagnosis in the U.S., according to a new study. There is a fine line between direct-to-consumer drug ads, which the Food and Drug Administration regulates, and ads meant to create disease awareness that often skirt the purview of the FDA, per the article published in JAMA. Disease awareness advertisements, particularly for conditions that only have one approved drug treatment, can bolster drug sales and lead to “inappropriate” prescriptions as patients turn to their doctors and request the drugs they see advertised.”
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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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NHS faces staggering increase in cost of elderly care, academics warn

The Guardian, 24 May 2017
Author: Sarah Boseley
“The NHS and social care system in the UK is facing a staggering increase in the cost of looking after elderly people within the next few years, according to major new research which shows a 25% increase in those who will need care between 2015 and 2025. Within eight years, there will be 2.8 million people over 65 needing nursing and social care, unable to cope alone, largely because of the toll of dementia in a growing elderly population.
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The Ethics of Clinical Trials Research in Severe Mood Disorders

Bioethics. May 2017. doi:10.1111/bioe.12349
Authors: Nugent, A. C., Miller, F. G., Henter, I. D. and Zarate, C. A.
“Mood disorders, including major depressive disorder (MDD) and bipolar disorder (BD), are highly prevalent, frequently disabling, and sometimes deadly. Additional research and more effective medications are desperately needed, but clinical trials research in mood disorders is fraught with ethical issues. Although many authors have discussed these issues, most do so from a theoretical viewpoint. This manuscript uses available empirical data to inform a discussion of the primary ethical issues raised in mood disorders research.”
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Plea for treatment lodged 16 times before NT substance abuser died, inquest hears

ABC, 23 May 2017
Author: Tom Maddocks
“Health authorities could not find a mandatory treatment service in the Northern Territory for a man who died from petrol sniffing, despite numerous requests over several years by family, police, nurses and doctors, a coronial inquest has been told.”
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