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NEWS IN BRIEF: Nurofen; GP chaos; Drug costs; R&D slump; NHS 24


15 Dec 2015

RPS respond to Australian Nurofen scandal

Pharmacists are best placed to advise patients on the appropriate painkillers to take, the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) has said.

Commenting on a ruling by the Federal Court in Australia that Reckitt Benckiser had misled consumers by marketing identical products for different types of pain RPS chief scientist, Professor Jayne Lawrence, said: “Pharmacists know if the active ingredient and formulation (whether it’s a tablet or a liquid) are equivalent, then the clinical effectiveness will be the same…

“However, the well-known “placebo effect” also plays a part in improving pain relief when people believe the medicine they are taking will work for their pain.”

She added: “People in the UK can be reassured that all medicines are strictly regulated for safety, efficacy and quality.

“Regardless of cost, and whether they are branded or generic, all medicines are made to the same high standards, so you can be reassured your medicine is safe.”

‘Chaotic’ GP surgeries endanger patients

Dirty and chaotic GP practices are putting patient safety at risk, The Times has reported.

Inspectors from the Care Quality Commission (CQC) have discovered surgeries with cockroach infestations or stocking out of date medicines.

The CQC has rated about 2,100 of England’s GP practices so far under a new inspection regime.

Doctors clueless about drug costs

Two thirds of doctors have little idea what the treatments they prescribe cost and are wasting money as a result according to a study, The Times has reported.

The NHS Confederation and the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges said that a misguided belief that doctors should not think about money was perpetuating inefficiency and giving patients pointless treatments.

Returns on R&D hit five-year slump

Returns on research and development investment by the world’s biggest pharmaceutical companies have declined to their lowest level for at least five years, the Financial Times has reported.

The news dashes hopes that the recent resurgence in drug approvals signalled an upturn in industry productivity.

Costly NHS service praised by Scottish government

A computer project for the NHS 24 telephone helpline which is currently running £41m over budget was praised in a Scottish government report, the BBC has reported.

The system for handling patient calls has been beset with problems and last month it was temporarily withdrawn. But a 2013 internal review described it as a “particularly strong exemplar of good practice”.

The Scottish government said the review was held before a significant testing phase of the project had taken place. The project is more than two years behind schedule. It is also currently running 55% over budget with an estimated cost of £117.4m, £41.6m higher than planned.


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