Unproven alternative medicines recommended by third of Australian pharmacists

The Guardian, 13 February 2017
Author: Melissa Davey
“Nearly one third of pharmacists are recommending complementary and alternative medicines with little-to-no evidence for their efficacy, including useless homeopathic products and potentially harmful herbal products.”
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The Use of Public Health Evidence in Whole Woman’s Health v Hellerstedt

JAMA Intern Med. 2017;177(2):155-156.
Author: Daniel Grossman
“Enacted in 2013, Texas’s House Bill 2 (HB 2) was one of the most restrictive abortion laws in the country. The law had 4 provisions: (1) physicians providing abortion had to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals, (2) medication abortion had to be provided according to the protocol described in the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved labeling of mifepristone, (3) most abortions at 20 weeks postfertilization or later were banned, and (4) facilities providing abortion had to meet the standards of ambulatory surgical centers. The first 3 provisions went into effect by November 2013; the fourth provision, meeting the standards of ambulatory surgical centers, was enforced only briefly in October 2014 before the US Supreme Court issued a stay.”
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Tobacco elimination: an economic and public health imperative

The Lancet, 389(10066), p225, 2017
Source: Editorial, The Lancet
“Last week, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) of the US National Institutes of Health, in collaboration with WHO, released The Economics of Tobacco and Tobacco Control—the 21st volume in a series of monographs on tobacco control produced from the NCI. The almost 700-page report contains an impressive body of work from more than 60 authors worldwide. It provides a comprehensive summary of the latest evidence and research, and what needs to be done on two areas. First, the economics of tobacco control, including tobacco use and growing, manufacturing and trade, and tobacco control interventions and policies to reduce tobacco consumption and its effects on health and disease burden. Second, the economic implications of global tobacco control efforts since the coming into force of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control in 2005. Will this report make a difference?”
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Letting Seriously Ill Patients Try Drugs Whose Safety, Efficacy Hasn’t Been Proven Could Be Deadly

Forbes, 20 January 2017
Author: Rita Rubin
“The new FDA report, released practically on the eve of President Donald Trump’s inauguration, challenges critics who want to make drugs available to patients as soon as possible. It includes several examples of drugs and vaccines that had a favorable effect on biomarkers–measurable indicators of health, such as blood cholesterol levels–but did not improve symptoms or reduce the risk of a disease.”
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Financial ties of principal investigators and randomized controlled trial outcomes: cross sectional study

BMJ 2017; 356:i6770
Authors: Rosa Ahn, Alexandra Woodbridge, Ann Abraham, Susan Saba et al
“Randomized controlled trials (RCTs) are considered the most reliable form of evidence in evaluating the safety and efficacy of drugs. Because results of RCTs shape the evidence base, objectivity in the conduct of clinical trials has important implications for clinical practice and the health and safety of patients. However, critics worry that involvement of the pharmaceutical industry may bias the design and interpretation of RCTs.”
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The Limits of Sugar Guidelines

The Atlantic, 17 January 2017
Author: Nina Teicholz
“A firestorm recently erupted over a paper in the Annals of Internal Medicine that found official advice limiting sugar in diets to be based on “low” or “very low” quality evidence. Because a food-industry group had funded the study, a slew of critics accused the authors of distorting the science to undermine nutrition guidelines and make sugar seem less harmful than it actually is. One prominent nutrition professor called the paper “shameful.” “It was really an attempt to undermine the scientific process,” said another. Lost in this torrent of criticism was any significant discussion of the science itself. Regardless of its funding source, was the paper correct in saying that there is insufficient evidence to recommend limiting sugar? And do official guidelines even matter, since we pretty much know that sugar is bad for us?”
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Many health news stories lack independent sources

Reuters, 22 December 2016
Author: Andrew M. Seaman
“News stories about medical research rarely include objective comments from experts who weren’t involved in the work, according to a recent analysis. Of nearly 600 news articles about medical research published in early 2013, only about one in six included a comment from a person not affiliated with the research – and a quarter of the independent sources quoted in the articles appeared to have no relevant expertise about the topic, the study found. Also, the commenters frequently had conflicts of interest.”
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Are Chiropractors Backing The Anti-Vaccine Movement?

Forbes, 10 December 2016
Author: Bruce Y Lee
“Today Andrew Wakefield was a keynote speaker at the International Chiropractors Association’s Annual Conference on Chiropractics and Pediatrics in Maui, Hawaii. Yes, the same Andrew Wakefield, who in 2010 was stripped of his medical license in the United Kingdom for ethical violations and failure to disclose potential financial conflicts of interest, The same Wakefield who published a subsequently discredited and retracted study in The Lancet linking vaccines to autism that the British Medical Journal (BMJ) described as an “elaborate fraud”. The same Wakefield who produced and directed an anti-Vaccine “documentary” film ‘Vaxxed: From Cover-Up to Catastrophe’ that pushed conspiracy theories about the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and vaccines. The same Wakefield who has not been able to provide scientific evidence to support his claims. Is this really the best way for a professional association and a conference to gain scientific legitimacy?”
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Current state of ethics literature synthesis: a systematic review of reviews

BMC Medicine 2016 14:152
Authors: Marcel Mertz, Hannes Kahrass, Daniel Strech
“Modern standards for evidence-based decision making in clinical care and public health still rely solely on eminence-based input when it comes to normative ethical considerations. Manuals for clinical guideline development or health technology assessment (HTA) do not explain how to search, analyze, and synthesize relevant normative information in a systematic and transparent manner. In the scientific literature, however, systematic or semi-systematic reviews of ethics literature already exist, and scholarly debate on their opportunities and limitations has recently bloomed.”
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