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NAPC News 9 July 2012
Drug Giant Probe
Swiss pharmaceutical giant, Roche, is said to be at the centre of an urgent investigation after failing to disclose reports indicating that 15,000 people died while using its medications.
The company failed to pass on a further 65,000 reports of suspected side effects that were recorded by patients.
There is no evidence so far of any direct link between the problems and the drugs, but medicines watchdog said they were taking Roche’s failure to disclose possible concerns extremely seriously.
It is claimed that GlaxoSmithKline has sought to portray the £1.9 billion settlement with the American authorities over bad selling practices as a thing of the past and an example of the new ethical GSK, under the command of Sir Andrew Witty, who took over in 2008, refurbishing the company’s image and reputation.
This is said to be all very well, except the US authorities claimed that until ‘ at least 2010’ Glaxo was still using illegal marketing tactics to promote Advair, an inhaler used to treat asthma.
Separately, according to reports, Celgene, a Nasdaq-listed biotech company, has entered talks with Human Genome Sciences, which could disrupt a hostile takeover by GlaxoSmithKline.
HGS has searched for a ‘white knight’ to thwart GSK’s $2.6 billion bid, made in May, which it says undervalues the business.
Japanese Drugs Giant Chooses Hammersmith As Europe HQ
The Japenese pharmaceuticals firm, which developed Crestor, one of the world’s best selling drugs, this weekend selected Hammersmith for its first European headquarters.
Shionogi is best known for licensing new cholesterol-fighting molecules to AstraZeneca in 1998, which went on to be sold as Crestor, and now sells $5.7 billion a year
Cover-Ups And Golf Lessons
The Observer yesterday commented on the new that GlaxoSmithKline had been selling anti-depressant drugs in the United States for unapproved use on children and concealing critical evidence from the US regulator, the Food and Drug Administration, relating to a diabetes product.
Dilnot Review To Open Funding Challenge
David Cameron, Prime Minister, is to fight the next election promising real terms increases for the NHS, both health and Conservative party officials understand.
Hospitals Charge For NHS Treatment
A number of hospitals have been asking patients who do not want to wait or have been denied NHS funding for treatments, such as bone scans, high technology cancer surgery, IVF and screening for hereditary diseases to pay for treatments on the NHS in an apparent breach of the founding principle of the health service.
The hospitals in question described the treatment as self-funded rather than private. However, critics have accused them of creating a two tier health service.
Homerton University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust, and University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust have all offered patients self funded procedures.
Donor Rates Double After Family Talks
People who sign up to donate their organs after death are being urged to discuss it with loved ones.
Only 48 per cent know that organs of people on the NHS register can still be withheld without family approval.
The Flu Vaccine That Defeats Obesity
A US biotech firm has developed an obesity vaccine that uses the immune system to keep the body slim.
The vaccine works by stimulating the immune system to attack a hormone that slows the metabolism, leading to weight gain. In tests, obese mice fed on a high-fat diet saw a 10 per cent drop in body weight four days after receiving the vaccine.
Loneliness In The Elderly Is A Health Issue
Campaigners are calling for loneliness in old age to be recognised as a major health issue and treated with the same urgency as obesity and smoking addiction.
Statistics compile by Age UK showed that up to a million pensioners were suffering in silence on a daily basis in the UK and one in ten said they felt completely cut off from society, family and friends.
Of the 14 million people aged 60 or over, five million said they now considered television to be their only source of company.
Reforms To End Social Care Lottery
Under a new ‘national minimum threshold’ from 2015, elderly and disabled people will be judged on whether they qualify for free social care in their home.
Ministers claim the move, in a White Paper to be published this week, will end the postcode lottery for social care. However, campaigners said it will be meaningless unless it is matched by sufficient new funding levels. They also question the delay in implementation.
Medics Suspended After Man Dies On Hospital Doorstep
Eleven hospital staff in Walsall have been suspended after a man collapsed and died on the doorstep to their hospital.
The middle aged man, who has not been named, had earlier been admitted suffering from chest pains. He was being treated by doctors at Walsall Manor Hospital, West Midlands, but was taking some fresh air by the entrance to A&E when he collapsed.
Charities Protest At Delay in Decision On Care For Elderly
Charities and health organisations reacted with fury over the weekend to the breakdown off cross-party talks on the future of social car for the elderly, as ministers said key decisions on how to fund reform would be postponed until next year’s spending review.
£200m For Pensioners
More than £200 million is to be spend building 6,000 adapted homes for the elderly to enable them to live independently for longer.
Construction firms will get the cash in grants for new houses with single storeys, customised bathrooms and cupboards at wheelchair height.
Health Secretary, Andrew Lansley, said: ‘The vast majority of us want to stay in our homes as we get old and want to stay independent.’
Despite a promise from the Coalition government, expenditure on the NHS has fallen by about £26 million last year.
Londoners Will Be Put At Risk By A&E Closure Plan
Casualty unit closures will put hundreds of thousands of Londoners at risk, MPs warned at the weekend.
Nearly 30 are urging health chiefs to tear up plans to shut accident and emergency centres at Hammersmith, Charing Cross, Ealing and Central Middlesex Hospitals.
Junior Doctors Left To Carry Out Surgery Beyond Their Skills
Research has indicated that up to one in five junior doctors is being asked to carry out operation sand procedures that are beyond their capabilities.
Dr Tom Dolphin, the Chairman of the British Medical Association’s Junior Doctor Committee, said junior doctors should never be placed in a situation where they were unable to access support.
A feature in the Financial Times on research into a cure on Alzheimer’s disease noted that 300 participants in the $100m NIH trial came from an extended family in Columbia, whose members shared a rare genetic mutation that typically triggered Alzheimer’s around the age of 45.
The trial will show whether or not suppression of abeta plaques in the brain could delay the onset of memory loss and then dementia.
Royal Brompton Future In Doubt As Child Heart Surgery Lost
Managers at the Royal Brompton Hospital were in crisis talks at the weekend over the loss of its child heart surgery unit.
The Brompton said the decision would destroy other services and impact on research into cures of conditions such as cystic fibrosis. It will lose its children’s intensive care unit, which supports its child respiratory service, which treats children with conditions such as asthma and cystic fibrosis.