Researchers have unveiled a snapshot of the molecular machinery that bacteria use to build polysaccharide chains that protect them from immune attack.
Looking back at some of the biggest news stories from the past year.
E-cigarettes that contain nicotine can help people quit smoking long-term or reduce the number of cigarettes they smoke compared with products that do not contain nicotine, say Cochrane reviewers.
Lack of evidence for seven investigational drugs being developed for the treatment of Ebola means it is impossible to make conclusions about their safety or efficacy.
Pharmacy-led statin support service in general practice helps patients reach cholesterol targetsSubscription
Using pharmacists to support statin-prescribing in general practice improves patients’ chances of reaching their cholesterol targets and has a lasting effect on the prescribing behaviour of GPs.
A phase I clinical trial of the fast-tracked Ebola vaccine VSV-ZEBOV has been halted in Switzerland because some trial participants developed mild joint pain.
Tamoxifen used in primary prevention cuts the risk of breast cancer by around 30% and this benefit lasts for at least 20 years, a long-term follow-up of the International Breast Cancer Intervention Study shows.
Walgreens’s chief executive officer Greg Wasson is to retire and will not head up the company once it completes its merger with Alliance Boots, in a change to previous plans.
Antimicrobial resistance will lead to an additional 10 million deaths each year worldwide by 2050Subscription
Failure to address growing resistance to antibiotics and other drugs will result in the deaths of an additional 10 million people each year worldwide by 2050 and cost the global economy up to US$100tn, projects a UK report.
Company has offered to settle a class action brought by more than 150 patients in Australia who allege they were never warned about the side effects of treatment.
An initiative described as a “step change” in the ability of the European pharmaceutical industry to donate medicines in response to global disasters or appeals for humanitarian aid has been launched.
GlaxoSmithKline is changing the colour of its Relvar Ellipta inhaler from blue to yellow after respiratory health professionals warned that patients could be confused.
Malaria mortality rates decreased by 47% worldwide between 2000 and 2013, and case incidence fell by 30%, a World Health Organization report says.
France, Germany, Belgium and Luxembourg suspend drug licences for some GVK Biosciences genericsSubscription
Four European countries have suspended the marketing authorisations for 25 generic medicines manufactured by GVK Biosciences at its plant in Hyderabad, India.
Many primary care physicians are less likely to prescribe opioids now than a year ago, according to a survey of US doctors.
There is no evidence that Novartis’s Fluad is unsafe, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) says, after 13 deaths in Italy were reported as being associated with the influenza vaccine.
Marijuana will not be sold in pharmacies in Uruguay until March 2015, the National Drugs Board (JND) has announced.
Preliminary investigations have found no manufacturing defect in the influenza vaccine Fluad, which has been linked to the deaths of 13 older people in Italy.
Robert Blyth, former PJ editor, diesSubscription
Robert Blyth, FRPharmS, who edited The Pharmaceutical Journal from 1961 to 1986, has died. A pharmaceutical journalist for the greater part of his career, he died on 27 November 2014, aged 93.
McKesson cements acquisition of CelesioSubscription
The US healthcare services and information technology company McKesson Corporation has cemented its acquisition of German pharmaceutical wholesale and retail company Celesio AG.
The German pharmaceutical company Merck KGaA has joined WIPO Re:Search consortium, a public-private consortium to help find new ways of using intellectual property (IP) for medicines and diagnostics used to treat neglected tropical diseases.
Ulf Wiinberg has resigned as chief executive of the Danish pharmaceutical company Lundbeck after breaching the company’s code of ethics.
The European Medicines Agency has amended its policy on handling declarations of interest to ensure pharmaceutical experts are not unduly excluded.
Methods to improve patients’ adherence to medicines are generally unproven and there is an urgent need to develop more effective approaches, say researchers.
EllaOne to be available without prescriptionSubscription
EllaOne (ulipristal acetate), an emergency contraceptive, is to be made available without a prescription from community pharmacies throughout the European Union.
The European Union (EU) and the United States have criticised Russia’s move away from open trade and introduction of policies that discriminate against foreign imports, including pharmaceuticals and medical devices.
A large proportion of people prescribed antipsychotics do not have a diagnosis of psychosis or bipolar disorder, research indicates.
A national pilot of pharmacists working in accident and emergency departments is to start in February 2015, following a trial of the scheme in the West Midlands.
Women with a history of mental health problems should receive additional support before, during and after their pregnancy, according to new NICE guidance.
People with diabetes using insulin pens from a number of faulty batches manufactured by Owen Mumford are at risk of hyperglycaemia.
The General Pharmaceutical Council has announced plans to make the assessment papers that pre-registration pharmacists take to qualify more clinical in focus.
If you have not yet heard of sick day rules for reducing patients’ risk of acute kidney injury (AKI), you probably will soon.
Pharmacy bodies remain hopeful that pharmacy will play a meaningful role in new models of NHS care, despite the lack of a formal response to the Call to Action consultation.
Government advisory board members concerned about removal of anonymity for error reportsSubscription
Community pharmacists in England may face an increased risk of prosecution for a dispensing error because of changes made to their national contract, according to some members of a government advisory board.
Pharmacists risk missing the opportunity to expand their clinical responsibilities within a changing NHS in England because of a failure to reform funding arrangements and a lack of consistent messages about the role the profession can play.
Community pharmacists will be expected to offer medicines use reviews to patients with cardiovascular disease and those who are at risk from 1 January 2015, national negotiators have confirmed.
Two-thirds of maternal deaths are due to an unrelated medical or mental health condition which has not been well-controlled rather than from a complication of pregnancy, says a new report.
Some community pharmacies in Wales will be able to receive electronic discharge information from hospitals from March 2015.
A personal DNA screening test kit that claims to identify genetic risk for diseases such as Parkinson’s disease — and which was banned in the United States — is now available in the UK.
GPs should conduct C-reactive protein tests before prescribing antibiotics to treat pneumoniaSubscription
The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence recommends that GPs should conduct a C-reactive protein test if it is unclear whether a patient has pneumonia to ensure antibiotics are only prescribed when necessary.
Pharmacy flu vaccinations increase in WalesSubscription
Nearly 8,000 people were vaccinated against influenza at Welsh pharmacies in 2013–2014, according to data published by the Welsh Government.
A manifesto intended to put community pharmacy at the heart of healthcare delivery in primary care has been launched at the House of Commons by Sir Keith Barron, MP.
A superintendent pharmacist has been suspended from practice for 12 months after his sales assistant was filmed selling amoxicillin and Viagra to an undercover reporter.
The pharmacy regulator is backing UK government proposals that could see pharmacists brought before a fitness-to-practise hearing if his or her lack of proficiency in English poses a risk to patients.
Boots will compare an individual pharmacist’s salary to an external market median for its pay review scheme in 2015.
England’s Department of Health to review hospital pharmacy services to identify cost savingsSubscription
England’s Department of Health is to review hospital pharmacy services as part of a wider examination of how to cut waste in NHS procurement.
Inquiry criticises NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde for failure to appoint antimicrobial pharmacistSubscription
Failure to adopt ’prudent’ antibiotic prescribing practices contributed to the deaths of 34 hospital patients from Clostridium difficile infection.
Succession planning is urgently needed to prepare for the swathe of experienced pharmacists buying medicines for hospitals who will shortly retire, an independent review has warned.
According to The Lancet’s commission, community pharmacists could play a key role in helping to improve liver disease services in primary care, say hepatology specialists.
A planned change to the management of the smartcard system used by pharmacists in England when accessing the electronic prescription service has been delayed.
Researchers examine why SSRIs take time to workSubscription
Researchers have shown that serotonergic neurons release both serotonin and glutamate, thereby transmitting a dual signal with behaviourally distinct effects.
Adding the proteasome inhibitor carfilzomib to lenalidomide plus dexamethasone, the standard treatment for patients with relapsed multiple myeloma, significantly improves outcomes.
Patients with ALK-positive non–small-cell lung cancers fare better when treated with the ALK inhibitor crizotinib than with standard chemotherapy, new research shows.
HIV is evolving relatively rapidly, which is contributing to a reduction in HIV virulence at the population level, say researchers writing in PNAS.
For most women, the long-term benefits of aspirin do not outweigh the increase in major gastrointestinal bleeding, say researchers.
Immune checkpoint inhibitor shows “striking preliminary efficacy and safety results” in metastatic bladder cancer, say researchers.
Researchers have discovered that brain metastases harbour high densities of tumour-infiltrating lymphocytes, which provide an immunoactive environment.
Early effects of yellow fever virus examinedSubscription
In the first 72 hours after infection, the yellow fever virus induces changes in the expression of nearly 800 genes, scientists have discovered.