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Immune checkpoint inhibitors - PD-1 and PD-L1- induce higher response rate across worst cancer tumours such as lung cancer

Immune checkpoint inhibitors bring new hope to cancer patientsSubscription

PD-1 and PD-L1 inhibitors induce a higher response rate across a wider range of tumours than other immunotherapies.

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Lundbeck’s chief executive resigns after code of ethics breachSubscription

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 (EMA) amends policy on handling declarations of interest

Medicines regulator amends conflict of interest rules to ensure suitability of expertsSubscription

The European Medicines Agency has amended its policy on handling declarations of interest to ensure pharmaceutical experts are not unduly excluded.

Cochrane researchers call for better ways of studying medicines adherenceSubscription

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.

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EU and US criticise Russia over protectionist measures for its pharmaceutical industrySubscription

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.

Compliance rates with hand hygieine standards are below 50% in most healthcare settings, suggests a US study

Hospital workers wash their hands less frequently as their shifts progressSubscription

Hospital employees who work with patients wash their hands less frequently as they get deeper into their shifts, a study finds.

UNAIDS sets target of 90% of people with HIV receiving treatment by 2020Subscription

A fast-track approach is needed over the next five years for the AIDS epidemic to cease to be a global health threat by 2030, according to a report by UNAIDS released on 18 November 2014.

Vitamin B and folic acid supplements in elderly people do not improve memory or cognitive skills in elderly people

Vitamin B supplements may not increase cognitive performance in older peopleSubscription

The cognitive performance of elderly participants involved in a two-year study did not benefit from vitamin B12 and folic acid supplements.

The World Health Organization (WHO) puts pressure on drug manufacturers to make clinical trial data publicly accessible

WHO joins drive to make all clinical trial data publicly availableSubscription

The World Health Organization has issued an official statement to encourage pharmaceutical companies to publicly disclose clinical trial results.

Breastfeeding mothers may lose out if recent domperidone warnings are heededSubscription

The benefits of using domperidone to increase milk supply in breastfeeding mothers outweigh its risks, argues a researcher at the University of Adelaide, South Australia.

The role of chief scientific adviser to the European Commission, formerly held by Anne Glover, has been scrapped

Role of chief scientific adviser at European Commission scrappedSubscription

Move to scrap the role of chief scientific adviser has been described as ‘deeply disappointing’.

Antibiotic resistance a 'threat to public safety' in EuropeSubscription

Increasing bacterial resistance across Europe, particularly to carbapenems and polymixin antibiotics, is a “threat to public safety”.

Teenagers and young adults with kidney disease use smartphones to help them remember to take their medicines, study suggests

Smartphones help to improve medicine adherence in teenagers and young adultsSubscription

Half of teenagers and young adults with kidney disease have used smartphones to help them remember to take their medicines, a study suggests.

Ebola research projects receive £1.34mSubscription

A hand-held device to test bodily fluids for the Ebola virus is among five new research projects announced by the UK government and the Wellcome Trust.

Case of bird flu confirmed in UKSubscription

A case of avian influenza has been confirmed in the UK by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

A “procedural error” has led to the annulment of Guido Rasi’s appointment to the position of executive director of the European Medicines Agency in 2011

European Medicines Agency head steps down after “procedural error”Subscription

Guido Rasi, the executive director of the European Medicines Agency (EMA), has been forced to step down after a “procedural error” in the process that appointed him to the position.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has issued guidelines on the use and access of naloxone to cut global deaths from opioid overdose

Increased access to naloxone could cut global deaths from opioid overdose, says WHOSubscription

The World Health Organization has issued new guidelines to expand access to naloxone in an effort to reduce the number of deaths caused by overdoses of opioids.

Bayer scores 75% for organisational transparency in Transparency International rank on the world's 124 largest publicly listed companies

GlaxoSmithKline and Bayer outperform Roche and Johnson & Johnson in corporate transparency studySubscription

Many of the world’s 124 largest publicly listed companies disclose little or no financial details about their operations outside their parent country.

Light micrograph of patient with chronic kidney disease

Major bleeding risk higher for dabigatran than for warfarin, study suggestsSubscription

Research suggests that dabigatran is associated with a higher risk of bleeding compared with warfarin in a US population sample.

Fatal case of progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy linked to TecfideraSubscription

A fatal case of progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy has been reported for the first time in a patient receiving dimethyl fumarate (Tecfidera).

New endolytic enzyme called Staphefekt found to kill meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (pictured)

New bactericidal enzyme solution could help the fight against MRSA infectionSubscription

An enzyme that kills meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) has been developed by Dutch biotech company Micreos.

Researchers find way to target RAS protein (pictured), the most frequently mutated oncogene in a third of human cancers

Breakthrough in targeting KRAS gene mutation implicated in many cancersSubscription

Researchers have identified an agent that interferes with the cell signalling protein KRAS and which produces a dose-dependent reduction in tumour growth in a mouse model.

Biomarker test could help reduce unnecessary antibiotic prescribingSubscription

Point-of-care testing for a biomarker of bacterial infection would help to limit unnecessary antibiotic prescribing by GPs, suggests a systematic review.

IPCC report calls for action to limit health impacts of climate changeSubscription

The latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) confirms — with 95% certainty — that human influence on the climate is growing.

Metformin monotherapy for initial treatment in newly diagnosed diabetes patients are less likely to require treatment intensification. Light micrograph of metformin drug crystals

Study upholds use of metformin monotherapy for first-line diabetes treatmentSubscription

Patients recently diagnosed with diabetes who are prescribed metformin monotherapy are less likely to require treatment intensification compared with patients prescribed other oral glucose-lowering medications as a monotherapy.

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Penicillin allergy rates may be wildly overestimatedSubscription

A study finds 94% of participants wrongly believed they were allergic to penicillin.

European Union (EU) pledges 280 million euros for research to develop Ebola vaccines and diagnostic tests

Ebola research gets a 280m euro boost from EU and drug industrySubscription

The European Union has pledged 280m euro to a research project to develop vaccines and diagnostic tests for Ebola.

Family to take civil action after dispensing error deathSubscription

Relatives of a woman who died after a dispensing error are to take civil action, the family’s lawyers have confirmed.

Drug firms must price cancer drugs fairly, says charitySubscription

‘Inflated’ prices set by drug companies for breast cancer treatments are creating a barrier that no regulatory system can overcome, a cancer charity argues.

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Provision of medicines use reviews (MURs) and new medicine service (NMS) interventions continues to rise in England’s community pharmacies, says Health and Social Care Information Centre. However, rate of expansion of community pharmacies is slowing

Provision of pharmacy services in England has increased, statistics showSubscription

The number of medicines use reviews and new medicine service interventions has risen steadily in England’s community pharmacies.

NHS England issues naloxone warningSubscription

Inappropriate use of naloxone can cause patients severe distress and can be fatal, says NHS England in a Patient Safety Alert.

NHS staff in Wales to receive 1% consolidated pay riseSubscription

NHS staff in Wales on ‘Agenda for change’ pay scales will receive a 1% consolidated pay rise from April 2015 in a deal agreed between unions and the Welsh government.

Government-backed plan supports greater role for pharmacy in management of high blood pressureSubscription

Community pharmacists should be commissioned to provide services that improve the management of people with high blood pressure or those who are at risk.

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GPhC reviews fitness-to-practise guidelinesSubscription

Pharmacists who are dishonest with patients when care goes wrong could be removed from the professional register, the General Pharmaceutical Council has proposed.

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UK government to review access to new medicines and diagnosticsSubscription

Plans may include integrating the health service with life sciences research to bring innovations to patients faster.

Pharmacy student numbers will not be controlled

Clinical Pharmacist's monthly news round-up: the top 10 in the past monthSubscription

What has been happening in the world of pharmacy? Here’s our pick of must-read news from the past month…

The cost of medicines prescribed by hospitals in England increased by 15.1% to £5.8bn, data from the Health and Social Care Information Centre show

NHS expenditure on prescribed medicines up by 7.6%, with 15.1% increase in hospital sectorSubscription

The cost of medicines prescribed by hospitals in England increased by 15.1% to £5.8bn in 2013–2014 compared with the previous year.

All patients in England will be able to remotely access their own GP records by March 2015 and their entire healthcare records by 2017

Patients in England could access their own GP records by March 2015Subscription

All patients in England will be able to access their own GP records by March 2015 and their entire healthcare records by 2017, under plans contained in a report by the National Information Board.

Sir Bruce Keogh, NHS England medical director,  is urging patients to use pharmacies more to relieve pressure on GPs that could lead to an additional £300 million NHS boost in winter

Winter pressure leads to £300m NHS boost and plea to use pharmaciesSubscription

The UK Government is to inject an extra £300m into the NHS to help support local health services as winter approaches.

Cancer charities and the pharmaceutical industry have expressed concern on the new rules for Cancer drugs Fund, which could lead to some being removed from the fund

Criticism voiced over new rules for Cancer Drugs FundSubscription

Cancer charities and the pharmaceutical industry have expressed concerns over the way cancer medicines are appraised after a revised process for assessing drugs available through the Cancer Drugs Fund was published by NHS England.

Lloydspharmacy stores in Liverpool will pilot community pharmacy-based discharge care, care of diabetes, and cardiac and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) patients discharged from NHS Trusts

Lloydspharmacy funds pilot project to improve care of patients after discharge from hospitalSubscription

Lloydspharmacy stores in Liverpool are set to pilot a new model of community pharmacy-based discharge care, as a result of a new research collaboration.

Over one million smokers admitted to hospitals in England in 2010/2011Subscription

It is the first time researchers have put a figure on the prevalence of inpatients who are smokers in hospitals in England.

Government drug advisers warn against suggestion by ministers to limit methadone therapy for heroin users, pictured

UK drug advisory council warns against limiting duration of methadone therapySubscription

Government drug advisers have rejected a proposal by government ministers to impose a time limit on prescribing methadone to heroin addicts.

Mark Drakeford (pictured), health minister for Wales, says there will not be a Cancer Drugs Fund for Wales

Wales will not have a Cancer Drugs Fund, health minister saysSubscription

Wales will not have a Cancer Drugs Fund, despite a 98,000-signature petition calling for equity of access to cancer drugs for patients in England and Wales being handed to the Welsh Assembly on 5 November 2014.

Bill will go through Parliament to allow the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE) to use off-patient drugs to be licensed for new purposes

UK bill aims to allow off-patent drugs to be licensed for new purposesSubscription

A bill going through Parliament wants the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) to appraise off-patent drugs to allow them to be used for new indications.

Community pharmacists can help diagnose chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) at an early stage and help save the NHS £264m

Pharmacy COPD-screening could save the NHS £264mSubscription

Community pharmacies can help identify undiagnosed cases of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease at an early stage, which could result in savings of around £264m per year, a pilot study suggests.

Pharmacists and clinical pharmacologists to collaborate following call for more consultant postsSubscription

Pharmacists and clinical pharmacologists are to look at how they can work together to improve patient care and increase the potential of medicines management to save NHS funds.

NHS could save up to £2bn by reducing medicine waste and improving clinical practice, says recent study by the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges

NHS could save nearly £2bn through waste reduction and improved clinical practice Subscription

Around £2bn of savings could be made in the NHS through reducing waste and improving clinical practice, says a report by the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges.

Gonorrhoea showing increasing resistance to antibiotics in England and Wales with a 15% increase in diagnosed cases from 2012, shows recent study

Gonorrhoea is becoming more resistant to antibioticsSubscription

Resistance to antibiotics used to treat gonorrhoea is increasing in England and Wales, according to figures published in the 2013 Gonococcal Resistance to Antimicrobials Surveillance Programme (GRASP) report.

The General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) acts fairly in fitness-to-practise cases, says recent review

Review of fitness-to-practise cases suggests pharmacy regulator acts fairlySubscription

Pharmacists are likely to be dealt with fairly if they find themselves up before the professional regulator’s fitness-to-practise committee, according to published research.

Public Health England reminds prescribers of effectiveness of antivirals for fluSubscription

Doctors have been instructed to prescribe antivirals for patients with severe influenza and not to be swayed by data showing that these drugs may not be effective.

Health organisations call on NHS to commit to reduction of antibiotic use to 2010 levels in order to reduce antimicrobial resistance

Call for NHS to reduce antibiotic use to 2010 levelsSubscription

NHS must commit to national targets to use fewer antibiotics to halt the rise in antimicrobial resistance, according to a coalition of health professional bodies.

All pharmacists, including UK nationals, will have to be highly competent in English if they want to practise in the UK

Pharmacists will have to be competent in speaking English to practise in the UKSubscription

All pharmacists, even UK nationals, will in future have to be competent in speaking English if they want to practise in the UK, under new proposals.

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Special report

Antimicrobial resistance

Last defence dam in antimicrobial resistance

Around 25,000 people die in the European Union each year from infections resistant to antibiotics. Third-generation cephalosporins are often useless against common bacteria like Escherichia coli, and fluoroquinolones are no longer the treatment of choice for gonorrhoea because resistance has become widespread. Here, you can find news stories and articles about the issue.

Read the special report

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