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Commitments to give the NHS more money may not be enough for the largest political parties to keep their promises. In the image, David Cameron (Conservative), Nick Clegg (Liberal Democrats) and Ed Miliband (Labour)

Can political parties keep their promises on the NHS?Subscription

Health organisations analyse the pre-election pledges of parties, and try to make sense of detail-light manifestos.

European Medicines Agency tightens conflict of interest rules for its expert advisersSubscription

Europe’s medicines safety regulator has tightened up its conflict of interest rules for scientific committee members and expert advisers in updated policy guidance.

The first candidate malaria vaccine to reach phase III clinical trials is not as effective at protecting young African children against the disease as was hoped. In the image, an anopheles albimanus mosquito, vector of malaria

Malaria vaccine is less effective than hoped, clinical trial showsSubscription

The first candidate malaria vaccine to reach phase III clinical trials is not as effective at protecting young African children against the disease as was hoped, according to results of the RTS,S clinical trial.

Global spending on cancer drugs tops US$100bnSubscription

Spending on cancer drugs now tops US$100bn globally, a 10.3% rise over the past 12 months, with targeted therapies making up 48% of the total spend.

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Complete the CPD modules and receive your certificate from The Pharmaceutical Journal.

Burn is an injury caused by thermal (heat), electrical, chemical or radiation energy. In the image, a close up of a third-degree burn

Burns: assessment and treatmentSubscription

Quick action is required with burns to minimise tissue damage and prevent infection.

Joint replacement surgery (pictured) should be considered when a patient with OA suffers persistent debilitating symptoms despite treatment

Osteoarthritis: managementSubscription

A wide range of drug classes are used to treat osteoarthritis, although there is a lack of detailed guidance because of the variable nature of the condition.

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Incompatibility poses a constant risk when mixing medicines but it can be avoided by understanding the chemical reactions taking place. In the image, a group of IV drips in hospital

Mixing medicines: how to ensure patient safetySubscription

Incompatibility poses a constant risk when mixing medicines but it can be avoided by understanding the chemical reactions taking place.

Scarlet fever is an infectious disease caused by toxin-producing strains of the bacteria Streptococcus pyogenes, also known as group A streptococcus (GAS), pictured

Scarlet fever: acute management and infection controlSubscription

With England facing increased levels of scarlet fever for the second consecutive year, find out how to identify and treat this communicable disease.

Linaclotide, lubiprostone and prucalopride are some of the latest medicines for the management of constipation. In the image, barium enema x-ray of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)

Linaclotide, lubiprostone and prucalopride interactionsSubscription

How to avoid potential pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic interactions with the latest medicines for managing constipation.

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Elizabeth Berrington, playing whistleblower Julie Bailey, during a moment of the play “Who Cares?”

Who Cares? review — a timely take on the health of the NHSSubscription

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Michael’s Wynne’s play, written to coincide with the lead up to the UK general election, describes the state of the NHS through testimonies from staff, patients and leaders.

Getting vaccination rates back on track must be prioritised on a global level to stop further outbreaks of preventable diseases. In the image, a broken chain of paper dolls

Global vaccination efforts must be stepped up to break the chain of preventable diseasesSubscription

Getting vaccination rates back on track must be prioritised at a global level to stop further outbreaks of preventable diseases.

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Sean Dixon, head of Business Services Group at The Royal Bank of Scotland, describes how to secure funding from a bank to set up a pharmacy business

Advice on securing a bank loan to buy a pharmacySubscription

Most would-be pharmacy owners have to secure funding from a bank to set up a business. Sean Dixon, head of Business Services Group at the Royal Bank of Scotland, describes what you can expect from your advisers — and what they expect from you.

Trudi Hilton is a humanitarian aid pharmacist and works in disaster areas and developing countries all over the world

Using medicines knowledge to provide humanitarian aid around the worldSubscription

After 20 years working in the NHS, Trudi Hilton became a humanitarian aid pharmacist and has since worked in disaster areas and developing countries all over the world. Now she is trying to demonstrate the value of a pharmacist to UK charities that work abroad.

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Clinical trials and the rules that govern them are coming under pressure for an overhaul. In the image, a researcher checks storage of samples in freezer

Clinical trials and tribulationsSubscription

A shake-up of the way clinical trials are conducted is on the horizon, with the aim of improving access to medicines.

All features

Stem cells in the central nervous system known as oligodendrocyte progenitor cells (pictured) are abundant in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) but fail to differentiate.

Miconazole and clobetasol may be effective as multiple sclerosis therapiesSubscription

Administration of the antifungal miconazole and the steroid clobetasol to a mouse model of multiple sclerosis can reduce disease severity, shows new research.

Anthelmintic drugs niclosamide and oxyclozanide can target multi-drug-resistant strains of Staphylococcus aureus (pictured in gold outside a white blood cell, in blue)

Anthelmintic drugs niclosamide and oxyclozanide can target staphylococcal infectionsSubscription

Niclosamide was bacteriostatic whereas oxyclozanide was bacteriocidal when tested in vitro against multi-drug-resistant strains of Staphylococcus aureus.

Olaparib, a drug approved for the treatment of women with ovarian cancer who have inherited BRCA mutations, also benefits men with prostate cancer. In the image, prostate cancer cells

Olaparib halts tumour growth in advanced prostate cancerSubscription

Olaparib, a drug approved for the treatment of women with ovarian cancer who have inherited BRCA mutations, also benefits men with prostate cancer.

More research briefing

Developing antibacterial plastics

Researchers in America have developed some bioplastics, made with albumin, soy or whey, that have antibacterial properties.

Possible new antivenom from one of the oldest surviving mammal families

Opossums have a naturally high level of immunity to certain types of snake venom. The opossum peptide responsible for this immunity has potential as an antivenom.

The pre-registration application process is inefficient

The current application process for students trying to secure pre-registration places is inefficient, says Adenrele Komolafe. Here, he describes a new UCAS-style system to help solve the problem.

The possible benefits of coconut oil

Although coconut oil is high in saturated fats, there is research to indicate that some types may be beneficial for health and weight loss.

A new structural model for enamel

Researchers in Illinois have found that rodent enamel is similar in structure to human enamel. This model could help to improve current fluoride treatment and dental health in humans.

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Promotional feature

Visit the PROTECT website at www.protect-cpd.com for a free CPD-accredited, in-depth and interactive, e-learning programme on advanced pharmacy management of acid reflux

Step into the limelight – pharmacists to take the lead in advancing the management of acid reflux

So, step into the limelight!  In this article we review the current thinking in the management of heartburn and acid reflux in community pharmacies, and provide guidance and practical tools for the entire pharmacy team to support a customer-centric approach to care.

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he Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) will lead an update of the national competency framework for all prescribers this year and publish accompanying guidance and support tools for pharmacists

RPS to lead update to national prescribing frameworkSubscription

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Pharmacists are to receive support tools and guidance as part of a planned update to the national prescribing framework.

English Pharmacy Board vice-chair Sandra Gidley

How the 2015 UK general election will affect pharmacySubscription

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As the UK heads to the polls on 7 May facing an uncertain political landscape, former Liberal Democrat MP and English Pharmacy Board vice-chair Sandra Gidley looks at how pharmacy may be affected.

Your RPS

Collaborative working with GPs is the answerSubscription

Following the recent joint Royal Pharmaceutical Society and Royal College of General Practitioners statement about the benefits of pharmacists working in GP practices, I was filled with excitement and optimism. We finally have some interprofessional recognition for the value of our skills and expertise.

Getting to the premier division and staying thereSubscription

In her report for the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) ‘Now or never: shaping pharmacy for the future’, Judith Smith depicted a profession that, despite its size and wealth, remained in the third division of healthcare professions — i.e. constantly underachieving and mostly ignored. She said the profession needed bold action from the RPS to get pharmacy and pharmacists on the lips of commissioners and health policy organisations.

Other correspondence

Special report

UK general election 2015

UK General Election 2015

The British public will decide the next UK government on 7 May in the 2015 general election. Unsurprisingly, healthcare and the NHS feature heavily in political party campaigns and manifestos. Here you can find our coverage of the elections, with a special focus on healthcare and pharmacy.

Read the special report

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Reader's comment

Regarding assisted dying it would appear that all three representatives continue to dither...nobody wants to be the one to push the debate.

Christopher Mercer Question time: UK political parties share their views on healthcare matters