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Posts tagged ‘drugs’

Drug firms hike cost of life-saving pills by 800% during pandemic 

Prices paid by NHS chemists for antidepressants and a breast cancer treatment have soared by more than 800 per cent in recent weeks, The Mail on Sunday can reveal.

Illegal drug trafficking obstacle to development – UN

The UN Secretary-General, Mr. Ban ki-Moon says illegal drug trafficking is a clear obstacle to development and called for “a robust and coordinated law enforcement response within and among countries.”

Mr. Moon in a message to mark the International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking which falls today June 26, 2013 spoke of his  visit to the Patrignano drug rehabilitation centre in northern Italy.

He said the facility houses 1,200 young women and men from 28 countries who are learning to free themselves from “the curse of addiction and enjoy dignified and productive lives.”

The UN Secretary-General said all over the world, drugs threaten the health and welfare of youth and children, families and communities, and the billions of dollars generated by the drugs trade feed corruption, enhance the power of criminal networks and create fear and instability.

“Illegal drug trafficking is a clear obstacle to development.  This cross-border problem requires a robust and coordinated law enforcement response within and among countries.  Tackling organized crime and the illicit drugs trade is a shared responsibility.  But the rule of law is only part of the equation,” he said.

According to Mr. Moon, farmers dependent on the cultivation of illicit drugs such as coca, marijuana and opium must be offered alternative livelihoods, while drug users and addicts need help not stigmatization.

He called for a human rights and science-based public health approach, which he says is the only sound basis for preventing and treating addiction and related consequences such as HIV transmission through unsafe injecting practices.

“We must also address threats such as the emerging problem of new psychoactive substances, many of which are not under international control.  Young people, in particular, must be made aware of the dangers of these drugs,” he said.

The UN General Assembly decided by resolution 42/112 of  7 December 1987, to observe 26 June as the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking as an expression of its determination to strengthen action and cooperation to achieve the goal of an international society free of drug abuse. This resolution recommended further action with regard to the report and conclusions of the 1987 International Conference on Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking.

The theme for this year is “Make health your ‘new high’ in life, not drugs.”

By Emmanuel K. Dogbevi

via Ghana Business News » Illegal drug trafficking obstacle to development – UN.

Drug firm Roche pledges greater access to trials data


Research suggests half of all clinical trials have never been published

The pharmaceutical company Roche has announced that it will make more of the data from its clinical trials available to researchers.

The company says it will appoint a panel of experts to evaluate and approve requests to access anonymised patient data.

We understand and support calls for our industry to be more transparent”

Daniel O’DayRoche

But the announcement has been dismissed as “pathetic” by campaigners arguing for greater transparency from the pharmaceutical industry – an issue I wrote about last month.

It’s estimated that half of all clinical trials have never been published and positive trial results are twice as likely to be published as negative findings. The AllTrials campaign wants the pharmaceutical industry to publish all data, and is supported by the Wellcome Trust, the BMJ and NICE.

“More transparent”

Roche, which makes the anti-viral medicine Tamiflu, has been repeatedly criticised by researchers for failing to grant access to all its data on the drug.

In response Roche has appointed a four man panel headed by flu expert Prof Albert Osterhaus to look at data on Tamiflu which the company says will “identify unanswered questions”.

Roche says it will also appoint an “independent body” to assess the validity of requests for unpublished trial data for its other medicines.

Daniel O’Day, Chief Operating Officer of Roche Pharma said: “We understand and support calls for our industry to be more transparent about clinical trial data with the aim of meeting the best interests of patients and medicine.”

Does Roche expect applause for announcing that it will continue to keep clinical trial findings hidden?”

Tracey BrownSense About Science

Mr O’Day told me that although the company would appoint the experts, the panel would be independent and would “stand up to public scrutiny”.


But the announcement has been met with derision by the organisation Sense About Science, which helped initiate the AllTrials campaign for all clinical research to be published. Its director Tracey Brown said: “Does Roche expect applause for announcing that it will continue to keep clinical trial findings hidden? They’re on another planet. Roche’s response is pathetic. Which bit of All and Trials do they not understand?”

Carl Heneghan, Director, Centre of Evidence-Based Medicine, University of Oxford, who is part of the Cochrane team reviewing Tamiflu said, “How can any panel be independent if they appoint it and oversee it? It also means there will be confidentiality clauses within any agreement. Either you provide the data in a transparent manner or you don’t.”

Earlier this month GSK became the first major pharmaceutical company to pledge its support for the AllTrials campaign. GSK said it would publish all clinical trial data dating back to the formation of the company in 2000 when it merged with SmithKline Beecham.

In the past GSK has been caught withholding safety data and last year it agreed to pay $3bn (£1.9bn) in the largest healthcare fraud settlement in US history after promoting two drugs for unapproved uses and other failures.

Its support for the AllTrials campaign is seen as highly significant.

Dr Heneghan said that GSK had provided him with all 30 clinical study reports (CSR) – regarding its anti-viral flu drug Relenza whereas he had received just one regarding Roche’s drug Tamiflu.

Roche says it has published 71 out of 74 Tamiflu trial results but these can be just short summaries and not the raw data of clinical study reports which can run into hundreds of pages.

The doctor and columnist Ben Goldacre, who has spearheaded the campaign for data transparency said GSK had “led the field” by signing up to AllTrials and it was “bizarre to see that Roche expect to be praised today for continuing to withhold data.” He predicted that the era of drug companies and researchers “routinely withholding important information about clinical trials is coming to an end.”


Teenagers shunning drugs for healthier lifestyle

Teenage girl smoking cannabis
Cannabis remains the most popular drug, but even its use is down

Teenagers in England are shunning drink and drugs for a cleaner lifestyle, say health officials.

A survey of 6,500 children aged between 11 and 15 showed the numbers taking drugs, smoking and drinking alcohol had all fallen over the past decade.

The NHS Health and Social Care Information Centre figures found 17% had tried drugs at least once in 2011, compared with 29% in 2001.

The team said youngsters appeared to be living increasingly healthy lifestyles.

The survey, which questions a selection of children at English secondary schools, is carried out every year to monitor reported use of drugs, alcohol and cigarettes.

The latest poll, carried out between September and December last year, found the number of children at each age who said they had taken drugs in the preceding 12 months was down.

Among 15-year-olds, the number fell from 39% in 2001 to 23% in 2011.

Only 3% of 11-year-olds had taken drugs.

Clean-living lifestyle

Cannabis was the most commonly used drug, although its was also down.

The survey also found the proportion of 11-to-15-year-olds smoking was the lowest since the polling began in 1982, and the number of “regular” smokers had halved in the past decade.

Pupils appear to be leading an increasingly clean-living lifestyle and are less likely to take drugs as well as cigarettes and alcohol”

Tim Straughan, NHS Health and Social Care Information Centre

Five per cent said they smoked at least one cigarette a week compared with 10% in 2001.

Just 25% said they had tried cigarettes at least once.

The proportion drinking alcohol at least once has dropped to under half – 45%, compared with 61% per cent in 2001.

Only 7% reported drinking regularly, down from 20% 10 years ago.

Tim Straughan, chief executive of the NHS Health and Social Care Information Centre, said: “The report shows that pupils appear to be leading an increasingly clean-living lifestyle and are less likely to take drugs as well as cigarettes and alcohol.

“All this material will be of immense interest to those who work with young people and aim to steer them towards a healthier way of life.”

Siobhan McCann, of the charity Drinkaware, said: “While the decline in the number of children trying alcohol is good news, the report still shows there are 360,000 young people who reported drinking alcohol in the last week alone.”


Strict licensing for imported drugs

KUALA LUMPUR: All imported drugs will undergo a strict licensing scheme before entering the country from July.

Saying that the move is to safeguard public health, Health Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai said drug importers would need a Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) licence if they want to bring in drugs and pharmaceutical products from countries without the Pharmaceutical Inspection Cooperation Scheme (PICS) status.


The GMP licence is issued by the respective national drug regulatory authority of the exporting countries.

Currently, there are 35 countries under PICS status, including Malaysia and Singapore in Asia, besides other European countries.


The pharmaceutical companies will be given a six-month grace period to do the necessary before the ruling is enforced, Liow said after launching the pharmaceutical industry fact book yesterday.

“We will make it compulsory. The drugs will not be allowed  into the country  without proper licensing.”

He also refuted a report in an English tabloid that the government did not have enough positions to cater to pharmacy graduates.


“The report is wrong, I would like to correct the statement as we have been continuously employing pharmacists,” he said.

He said in the past, pharmacy graduates had to undergo three years of training and one year of compulsory service with the government sector.

Read more: NST

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