Osborne accused of NHS funding “fantasy”

The head of the British Medical Association has accused George Osborne  of “fantasy” funding claims, insisting that the chancellor has delivered less than a third of the extra money the cash-strapped NHS needs, the Financial Times reports.

Mart Porter told a rare BMA special conference, called to consider the funding and workforce “crisis” in the health service, that the NHS had a “revenue larger than the gross domestic product of many countries”, but would “struggle to get a credit rating”.

The government has claimed that it has given the NHS the sum its chief executive, Simon Stevens, said was sufficient to keep the service going at current levels: an additional £8.4bn a year by 2020.

Hospital worker acquitted of stealing drugs

A pharmacy assistant has been acquitted of stealing hundreds of opiate-based painkillers from York Hospital, The York Press reports.

Stuart David Morley, 39, from Gateforth near Selby, was charged with taking two boxes of di-hydrocodeine on 11 occasions from the hospital's dispensary between July 25 and August 30, 2014 after police found boxes of 98 tablets matching the serial numbers of those taken from York Hospital.

Magistrates acquitted him on all charges after a day-long trial.

Giving evidence at York and Selby Magistrates' Court, he said: "I have never stolen anything in my life," and said he believed they had been prescribed to his wife, who was suffering complications after surgery.

Man attacked outside Middlewich pharmacy

A man was left with serious head injuries after being attacked outside a Middlewich pharmacy at the weekend, the Crewe Chronicle reports.

The 34-year-old man was outside Rowlands Pharmacy on Wheelock Street when he was assaulted at about 1.30am on Saturday (April 30).

The victim, from Middlewich, sustained serious head injuries and was initially taken to Leighton Hospital before being transferred to North Staffordshire Hospital where he is currently in a stable condition.

Police say a 24-year-old man from Stoke-on-Trent has been arrested in relation to the incident and has been released on bail until May 27.

Johnson & Johnson hit with $55m damages in talc cancer case

Pharmaceutical firm Johnson & Johnson (J&J) has been ordered to pay more than $55m (£40m) in compensation to an American woman who says its talcum powder caused her ovarian cancer, the BBC reports.

Gloria Ristesund, 62, said she used J&J talc-based powder products on her genitals for decades.

The company - which faces about 1,200 similar claims - insists its products are safe and says it will appeal.

Researchers say links with ovarian cancer are unproven.

NHS shares 1.6 million patients' medical records with Google as part of data-sharing agreement

The NHS has given the medical records of 1.6 million patients to Google, The Independent reports.

The records have been shared with Google as part of a data-sharing agreement between the technology giant and the NHS, revealed by The New Scientist.

The records relate to patients of three London hospitals which form the Royal Free Trust; Barnet, Chase Farm and Royal Free Hospital collected over the course of the last five years. An estimated 1.6 million patients attend the hospitals every year.

Google says it intends to use the data as part of its group DeepMind to develop a health app which can help recognise kidney injury. However, campaigners have expressed concerns that the data-share is a breach of trust and not in patients’ interest.

Pfizer considers break-up to cut taxes

Pfizer is looking for new ways to cut its US tax bill including moving part of its business overseas following a potential break-up, now that its $160bn merger with Allergan has been thwarted by the government, the Financial Times reports.

The US drugmaker last month abandoned its takeover of Dublin-based Allergan when the US Treasury proposed rules designed to prevent the transaction, which was structured as a contentious “inversion” that would have saved Pfizer billions of dollars in taxes.

But Ian Road, Pfizer chief executive, said yesterday he would consider other ways to cut Pfizer’s US tax rate.

He suggested that a break-up of the company as early as next year could provide an opportunity to relocate part of the group overseas.