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NEWS IN BRIEF: Million Signatures; Lloyds Closures; Midlife Medicals; Binge Drinking; Prostate Cancer


03 May 2016

Petition against pharmacy closures gets a million signatures

A petition against cuts to local pharmacy services has received its millionth signature, The Guardian reports.

The Support Your Local Pharmacy campaign could become the largest petition circulating in the UK after reaching the landmark figure, with around 30,000 people registering their objections to the Department of Health each day.

Campaigners say the government wants to divert investment away from local pharmacies which they claim would force chemists’ stores to close.

Patients would have difficulties accessing medicines and healthcare advice, while pressure would mount on GPs and hospitals, the petition organisers believe.

The National Pharmacy Association (NPA) chairman, Ian Strachan, said it was “absolutely clear” that the Department of Health had misjudged people’s feelings towards chemists.

Lloyds Pharmacy in Sutton Coldfield could be sold as competition regulator raises Sainsbury’s Mere Green takeover concerns A healthcare giant could be forced to sell a pharmacy in Sutton Coldfield due to competition concerns as it bids to take over hundreds more outlets from a leading supermarket, the Royal Sutton Coldfield Observer reports. The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) found that if Celesio, owners of Lloyds Pharmacies, buys 277 Sainsbury’s pharmacies would result in less competition and a knock-on effect for customers at 13 pharmacies one in Sutton Coldfield – believed to be one of the outlets in Mere Green. Competition and consumer watchdog, the CMA, referred the case for an investigation in December 2015 and in a summary of the provisional findings the inquiry group of independent panel members investigating the merger found the 13 sites where the pharmacies were ‘such close competitors’ that it would lead to a ‘substantial lessening of competition’.

NHS wasting millions on pointless midlife medicals

NHS health checks offered to millions of middle-aged people are a largely pointless waste of hundreds of millions of pounds, a government-ordered study has concluded, The Times reports.

Only one in five of the over-40s bothered to turn up for the “midlife MoTs” and those that did barely cut their risk of disease, the study of almost 50,000 people found.

Senior doctors have called for the health checks to be scrapped after finding that the £165m a year scheme has to see 4,762 to prevent only one heart attack or stroke.

People who had the health checks put on only a pound or two less than those who did not have one and had only tiny reductions in blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

How round-the-clock drinking did increase binge culture after all   The relaxation of licensing hours intended to cut binge drinking in Britain by ushering in a more “continental” approach actually lead to an increase in heavy alcohol consumption, the first study of its kind has shown, The Telegraph reports. Analysis of official health data by economists found that while average drinking volumes rose only marginally following the extension of opening hours a decade ago, the chances of some people drinking heavily increased dramatically. The likelihood of drinkers downing almost six pints in a single night surged by 36 per cent after the abolition of the traditional 11pm drinking-up time, the paper presented to the Royal Economic Society found. And the chances of someone consuming more than 16 units in a night – the equivalent of a bottle and a half of wine – jumped by 29 per cent in the wake of the reforms. New drugs for aggressive prostate cancer ‘promising’ A new type of drug could benefit men with aggressive prostate cancer that is no longer responding to treatment, researchers from the Institute of Cancer Research have said, the BBC reports. In a study on mice, Hsp90 inhibitors were found to strip cancer cells of defences against hormone treatments. This makes the drugs particularly promising for treating drug-resistant cancers, the research team said. Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men in the UK.


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