Joint United Nations statement on ending discrimination in health care settings

WHO, 27 June 2017
Source: World Health Organization
“United Nations entities recall that a central principle of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is to “ensure that no one is left behind” and to “reach the furthest behind first”. Recognizing that discrimination in health care settings is a major barrier to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), United Nations entities commit to working together to support Member States in taking coordinated multisectoral action to eliminate discrimination in health care settings. Discrimination in health care settings is widespread across the world and takes many forms. It violates the most fundamental human rights protected in international treaties and in national laws and constitutions.”
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FDA moves to prevent Pharma from ‘gaming’ generic drug system

Reuters, 21 June 2017
Author: Toni Clarke
“The U.S. Food and Drug Administration moved on Wednesday to prevent pharmaceutical companies from “gaming” the system to block or delay entry of generic rivals. FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said in a blog post that the agency plans to hold a public meeting on July 18 to identify ways pharmaceutical companies are using FDA rules to place obstacles in the way of generic competition. The move comes as the President and lawmakers in Congress search for ways to lower the cost of prescription drugs.”
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Medics as force multipliers around Mosul—at the expense of medical ethics?

The BMJ Opinion, 14 June 2017
Author: Jonathan Whittall
“But there is also a vital role for independent civilian health providers, such as MSF, to operate in accordance with the basic principles of impartiality and medical ethics. Independent health facilities allow patients who do not feel safe going to military installations to still access care, whereas the marriage between medicine and the military limits the safe options available to patients. If healthcare is only carried out as a component of the overall military strategy, it undermines the very basis of medical ethics.”
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Breast cancer drug that can extend lives approved for NHS use

The Guardian, 15 June 2017
Source: Press Association
“A drug that can extend the lives of women with advanced breast cancer has been approved for routine use on the NHS. A deal has been struck between NHS England and the manufacturer Roche, backed by Nice, to make the drug available to around 1,200 women a year in England. Until now, the drug has been funded only through the cancer drugs fund. In clinical trials, Kadcyla, which has a full list price of £90,000 a year per patient, was shown to extend the lives of people with terminal cancer by an average of six months. It also dramatically improves quality of life and reduces side effects.”
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Pfizer, Roche and Aspen face South African probe into cancer drug prices

Reuters, 14 June 2017
Authors: Paul Arnold, Tiisetso Motsoeneng
“South Africa’s competition watchdog has launched an investigation into three drug companies accused of over-charging for cancer medicines, the agency’s chief said on Tuesday. The Commission, which investigates cases before bringing them to the Competition Tribunal for adjudication, said it suspected the lung cancer treatment xalkori crizotinib sold by Pfizer had been excessively priced as has the breast cancer drugs Herceptin and Herclon sold by Roche. It Commission also would look into whether Aspen might have over-charged for Leukeran, Alkeran and Myleran cancer treatments in South Africa.”
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Modi’s generics-only drugs plan worries health experts, Indian pharma sector

Reuters, 25 May 2017
Author: Zeba Siddiqui
“India’s plan to bring in a law to ensure doctors prescribe medicines only by their generic names risks proliferating the sale of substandard drugs in a country where regulation is already lax, doctors and pharmaceutical executives say. Prime Minister said last month that the government was looking at such a law to improve affordability of medicines in the country of 1.2 billion people. Pharmaceutical executives said any law would have to stipulate that the drugs consumers get from pharmacists meet certain quality standards.”
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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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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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Ethical issues in dialysis therapy

The Lancet, Volume 389, No. 10081, p1851–1856, 2017
Authors: Vivekanand Jha, Dominique E Martin et al
“Treatment for end-stage kidney disease is a major economic challenge and a public health concern worldwide. Renal-replacement therapy poses several practical and ethical dilemmas of global relevance for patients, clinicians, and policy makers. These include how to: promote patients’ best interests; increase access to dialysis while maintaining procedural and distributive justice; minimise the influence of financial incentives and competing interests; ensure quality of care in service delivery and access to non-dialytic supportive care when needed; minimise the financial burden on patients and health-care system; and protect the interests of vulnerable groups during crisis situations. These issues have received comparatively little attention, and there is scant ethical analysis and guidance available to decision makers.”
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