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NEWS IN BRIEF: Hospitality; NHS crisis; Cancer; AstraZeneca


17 Dec 2015

Drug firm wined and dined NHS officials

A drugs company lavished “unacceptable” levels of hospitality on NHS officials from across the country, The Telegraph has reported.

A report by the pharmaceutical industry regulator said the body had “serious concerns” about an “advisory board” meeting attended by 12 health service staff in a German spa town.

The officials, each of whom was involved with assessing drugs for use by the NHS, were put up in a luxury hotel and each received a payment of £1,000 from the company, which then promoted its products during the trip.

Bleak financial situation for NHS The financial deterioration of NHS trusts and NHS foundation trusts has been much more severe than expected, according to a report published by the National Audit Office (NAO). The ‘Sustainability and financial performance of acute hospital trusts’ report sets out that the net deficit for NHS trusts and NHS foundation trusts will rise even further than the £843 million deficit in 2014/15. Katherine Murphy, Chief Executive of the Patients Association said: “The NAO report reminds us of the bleak financial situation the NHS is in, which is particularly worrying for patients at a time when the NHS faces an imminent winter crisis.”

Cancer not ‘bad luck’ Cancer is overwhelmingly a result of environmental factors and not largely down to bad luck, a study suggests, the BBC has reported. Earlier this year, researchers sparked a debate after suggesting two-thirds of cancer types were down to luck rather than factors such as smoking. The new study, in the journal Nature, used four approaches to conclude only 10-30% of cancers were down to the way the body naturally functions or “luck”. Experts said the analysis was “pretty convincing”.

AstraZeneca investing in China

AstraZeneca is splashing out hundreds of millions of pounds on buying the lung drug portfolio of Japan’s Takeda and deepening its presence in China, despite the country’s recent slowdown, the Guardian has reported.

The Anglo-Swedish drugmaker wants to create a new global hub for drug development in China alongside those in the UK and Sweden, with up to 50 scientists based in Shanghai and Wuxi City.

China is AstraZeneca’s second-biggest market by sales after the US, and one of its fastest growing areas.


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