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NEWS IN BRIEF: Homeopathy; Hep C; Pollution; CCGs; Meningitis; Child Obesity


23 Feb 2016

Need any more proof that homeopathy is useless? We’ve just got it, so let’s finally end this farce

The National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia recently published what might be the most thorough evaluation of homeopathy ever since it began 200 years ago, the Independent reports.

They assessed 176 individual clinical trials focused on 68 different conditions, and had two conclusions.

Firstly, that there is no evidence that homeopathy works better than placebo and, secondly, that patients may harm themselves if they use homeopathy instead of effective therapies.

Pakistan to import ‘game-changing’ Hepatitis-C drug

Pakistan has authorised the import of an expensive Hepatitis-C drug from the United States to improve treatment for the estimated eight million people carrying the blood infection, officials said Monday, the Daily Mail reports.

Hailed by experts as a game-changer, Sovaldi, which has been on the market since 2013, costs around $1,000 per pill in the US or $84,000 for a single course of treatment, according to a US Senate report released last December.

The drug is now being sold nationally in a Pakistani pharmacy chain for around $314 per 28 tablets, while the government is urging local manufacturers to produce generic copies on an urgent basis.

UK air pollution ‘linked to 40,000 early deaths a year’

Air pollution is contributing to about 40,000 early deaths a year in the UK, say the Royal Colleges of Physicians and of Paediatrics and Child Health, the BBC reports.

They say emissions from diesel engines have been poorly controlled and indoor air pollution has been overlooked.

Tobacco still poses the biggest indoor threat, but wood-burning stoves, spray deodorants, cleaning products, air fresheners and fly spray contribute.

Mould and mildew in poorly ventilated rooms can also cause illness.

Involving the public is crucial for NHS success

David Bennett, the outgoing chief executive of healthcare regulator Monitor said in a recent interview that he “would get rid of the idea of foundation trusts having [public] membership”, The Guardian reports.

Instead, he argued that clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) should take on an accountability role. Surely Bennett doesn’t regard involving patients and the public in how services are run as just an optional extra that can be passed between unwilling organisations?

Report after report on NHS failings has called for greater public involvement. Listening to the communities they serve should be more than just a tick-box exercise for foundation trusts.

MPs ‘to debate meningitis B vaccine within weeks’

Parliament will discuss reversing a controversial decision to limit the meningitis B vaccine to babies under nine months after MPs acknowledged that a record-breaking online petition had to be “taken seriously”, The Telegraph reports.

A debate is expected to be announced on the subject on Tuesday after a Commons committee has discussed the petition, which calls for all children under the age of 11 to be given the vaccine and which has been signed by more than 700,000 people
More than half of the members of the petitions committee, contacted by The Telegraph, said they had no doubt the subject would be put forward for debate as members were largely sympathetic to the cause and said it would be wrong to ignore a subject which had received such a groundswell of public support.

Little and large: Under-12s weighing more than 15st double in ONE year

The number of schoolkids weighing more than 15 stone has doubled in a year, The Sun reports.

Some 11-year-olds are so obese they weigh more than heavyweight boxers.

A record 383 under-12s topped the scales at more than 15st last year or were so bulky officials withheld their exact weight. It compares with 176 in 2014.

One in three children now leaves primary school overweight or obese.

 

 


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