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NEWS IN BRIEF: Erectile Drug Seizure; Illegal Supply of Lyrica; Superdrug; Hull GP; Valeant; Sanofi; E-cigarettes


28 Apr 2016

Thousands of illegal erectile dysfunction drugs seized in Scunthorpe

Enforcement officers from the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) have seized more than 62,000 doses of unlicensed erectile dysfunction medicines during raids at addresses in Scunthorpe.

The illegal and potentially dangerous unlicensed medicines have an estimated street value of nearly £200,000.

Alastair Jeffrey, MHRA Head of Enforcement, said: “Selling unlicensed medicines is illegal and poses a serious health hazard.

“Unlicensed medicines can be dangerous as they may contain impurities, incorrect ingredients, and there is no way of knowing if they are manufactured to acceptable standards of quality and safety.

“Criminals involved in the illegal supply of medical products aren’t interested in your health – they are only interested in your money.

“Be careful buying medicines online – only buy from a site that is registered with MHRA and displays the new EU common logo.

“MHRA will continue to track down and prosecute those who put the public’s health at risk.”

Belfast pharmacist quizzed over claims she sold Lyrica to dealer

A Belfast pharmacist is under police investigation over the illegal supply of stolen prescription drugs to a major street dealer, the Belfast Telegraph reports.

The 29-year-old woman is suspected of being a Belfast drug baron’s source of supply of a prescription-only medicine called Lyrica, which has become an increasingly popular street drug.

Lyrica, also known as ‘bud’, was among a cocktail of drugs taken by tragic west Belfast teen Aaron Strong before he suffered a massive heart attack at the weekend.

The 18-year-old is on life support at the Royal Victoria Hospital after he took the lethal cocktail of alcohol, Lyrica and the pain-killer Tramadol. He is in a coma with brain damage and complications from kidney and liver failure.

Scientists build superdrug to take on superbugs

A chemical that kills superbugs and can be manufactured cheaply in large quantities has been devised in a British laboratory, The Times reports.

In an era when many strains of bacteria have become increasingly hard to treat and E.coli is thought to kill more than 10,000 people a year in the UK, even the weapon of last resort, colistin, no longer works against all the dangerous bacteria.

The most promising prospect to lead a new assault on infections is a compound identified last year by microbiologists sifting through German soil.

Known as teixobactin, it appeared to be the strongest candidate for three decades, scything through bacteria with no signs of resistance.

Now researchers at the University of Lincoln have built synthetic versions of the molecule, which could lead to customised antibacterial weapons.

Hull GP Eugene Stryjakiewicz’s fitness to practise ‘impaired’, tribunal rules

A Hull doctor’s fitness to practise as a GP was impaired by serious misconduct and dishonesty, a tribunal ruled, the Hull Daily Mail reports.

Dr Eugene Stryjakiewicz booked false appointments for patients seven times between January 4, 2012, and May 23, 2012.

He also admitted asking for painkillers and antibiotics for a patient known only as Mr A without a prescription from a Hull pharmacy on April 16, 2014, while he was suspended.

A medical tribunal ruled Dr Stryjakiewicz acted dishonestly when he went to Boots in Hessle for a prescription of antibiotics for a patient on August 12, 2014, without telling the pharmacist Jansen Kong-Yan Tang he had been suspended from the medical register.

He also acted dishonestly by claimed he couldn’t fax over the prescription for the medication because the surgery’s fax machine was broken.

Valeant’s outgoing boss ‘regrets’ raising drug prices

“I was too aggressive.”

That was the message of Valeant’s outgoing chief executive Michael Pearson on Wednesday as he testified to a Senate committee about the company’s pricing strategy, the BBC reports.

The Senate Ageing Committee is investigating the industry-wide practice of buying existing prescription drug brands and ratcheting up prices.

It has caused outrage and provoked criticism from presidential candidates.

The former boss of drugs firm Turing – Martin Shkreli – became the poster-child for the problem when Turing raised the price of one drug by 5,000%.

There’s a new multi-billion pound deal brewing in the pharma industry

French pharmaceuticals giant Sanofi has made a near-$10-billion (£6.85 billion) bid for American biotech firm Medivation, which specialises in cancer treatments, Business Insider reports.

In a letter sent to Medivation on Thursday, Sanofi’s chief executive Olivier Brandicourt offered to buy the San Francisco-based company for $52.50 (£35.96) per share, a deal that would value it at $9.3 billion (£6.4 billion).

The move comes just a few days after Medivation’s boss David Hung told Sanofi that he did not want to sell.

E-cigarettes ‘much less harmful than smoking and should be encouraged’

E-cigarettes are beneficial to public health and smokers should be encouraged to use them, a major report by the Royal College of Physicians has concluded, the Independent reports.

The 200 page report is one of the most thorough analyses of the controversial devices to date and attempts to clarify divided opinion and conflicting advice on their use.

It concludes that contrary to concerns, e-cigarettes do not function as a ‘gateway’ to smoking for non-smokers and that most people who use them have already had a long established prior smoking habit.

It also recommends that: “Among smokers, e-cigarette use is likely to lead to quit attempts that would not otherwise have happened, and in a proportion of these to successful cessation. In this way, e-cigarettes can act as a gateway from smoking.”


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