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The 20 largest research-based pharmaceutical companies are active in 75 developing countries in at least one of four areas: research and development; quality management in manufacturing; supply chain management; and pharmacovigilance.

Targeting disease in the developing worldSubscription

Pharmaceutical companies influence access to medicines in developing countries through the development of innovative and adapted products, operating equitable pricing strategies and building local capacity.

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Molecular ruler

Bacteria’s protein machinery may offer antibiotic targetSubscription

Researchers have unveiled a snapshot of the molecular machinery that bacteria use to build polysaccharide chains that protect them from immune attack.

The worst outbreak of the fatal haemorrhagic Ebola virus disease started in the West African country Guinea, infected 17,942 individuals and killed 6,388 people as of 16 December

2014: The Pharmaceutical Journal's news in reviewSubscription

Looking back at some of the biggest news stories from the past year. 

E-cigarettes can be effective smoking cessation aids, Cochrane review suggests

E-cigarettes can be effective smoking cessation aids, Cochrane review suggestsSubscription

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.

Evidence still lacking for Ebola treatments, concludes European Medicines AgencySubscription

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.

Using pharmacists to support statin-prescribing in general practice improves patients’ chances of reaching their cholesterol targets

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.

Clinical trials of the VSV-ZEBOV Ebola vaccine have been halted because some participants developed joint pain after receiving the injection, says a press release issued by the University Hospitals of Geneva

Ebola clinical trial suspended after volunteers complain of joint painsSubscription

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 endures for at least 20 years

Chemoprevention with tamoxifen cuts risk of breast cancer by almost 30%Subscription

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.

Walgreen’s CEO Greg Wasson retires before merger with Alliance Boots is completed

Walgreens’s CEO Greg Wasson retires before merger with Alliance Boots is completedSubscription

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.

UK Prime Minister, David Cameron (pictured) commissioned a review to look at the dangers posed by drug-resistant superbugs. The review predicts that 10 million people will die every year by 2050 due to antimicrobial resistance

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.

Pfizer offers settlement in class action over Parkinson’s drug CabaserSubscription

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.

EURMED launched to facilitate medicines donations in response to global appealsSubscription

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 will change colour of Relvar Ellipta inhaler from blue to yellow after respiratory health professionals warned that patients could be confused

GlaxoSmithKline revises colour and labelling of Relvar Ellipta inhalerSubscription

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 worldwide decreased by 47%, and by 54% in the endemic African region between 2000 and 2013, World Health Organization (WHO) says

Malaria deaths fall by 47% globally between 2000 and 2013, WHO saysSubscription

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 25 generic drug licences manufactured by GVK Biosciences generics pending the outcome of an investigation by the European Medicines Agency (EMA), pictured

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.

Survey suggests US doctors are changing their prescribing habits for opioid drugsSubscription

Many primary care physicians are less likely to prescribe opioids now than a year ago, according to a survey of US doctors.

EMA says flu vaccine is safe after deaths in ItalySubscription

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.

Uruguay delays plans to allow the sale of cannabis for recreational purposes in pharmacies

Uruguay delays plans to sell cannabis in pharmaciesSubscription

Marijuana will not be sold in pharmacies in Uruguay until March 2015, the National Drugs Board (JND) has announced.

Initial Fluad investigations find no manufacturing defectSubscription

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 (pictured) has joined WIPO Re:Search consortium, which grants users royalty-free access to intellectual property assets to help address public health needs for NTDs in the world's least developed nations

Neglected diseases research gets a boost as Merck KGaA joins consortiumSubscription

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.

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.


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.

All News

Antipsychotics are being used for anxiety and dementia, despite licensed indicationsSubscription

A large proportion of people prescribed antipsychotics do not have a diagnosis of psychosis or bipolar disorder, research indicates.

Pharmacists to work in A&E departments in NHS England pilotSubscription

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 guidance issued by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE)

Pregnant women at risk of mental health problems need more support, says NICESubscription

Women with a history of mental health problems should receive additional support before, during and after their pregnancy, according to new NICE guidance.

Risk of hyperglycaemia for diabetes patients using faulty insulin pensSubscription

People with diabetes using insulin pens from a number of faulty batches manufactured by Owen Mumford are at risk of hyperglycaemia.

General Pharmaceutical Council announces revamp of pharmacists' registration exam

Pharmacists’ registration exam set to become more clinical in 2016Subscription

The General Pharmaceutical Council has announced plans to make the assessment papers that pre-registration pharmacists take to qualify more clinical in focus.

Sick day rules for reducing patients’ risk of acute kidney injury (AKI)

Initiative seeks to protect patients from acute kidney injury

If you have not yet heard of sick day rules for reducing patients’ risk of acute kidney injury (AKI), you probably will soon.

Sue Sharpe, the chief executive of the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee, said that when NHS England launched its consultation, it said the sector could expect a further document on the proposed features of its strategic framework for commissi

Leaders undeterred by missing commissioning plan for pharmacySubscription

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.

Judith Smith, director of policy at the Nuffield Trust, warns that the pharmacy sector is at risk of being sidelined as the NHS evolves

Pharmacy risks being sidelined as NHS evolves, report warnsSubscription

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.

MURs should target patients with cardiovascular disease from January 2015Subscription

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.

Pregnant women should not stop taking prescribed drugs without medical advice as two-thirds of maternal deaths are due to unrelated medical conditions that have not been well controlled.

Pregnant women warned not to stop taking prescribed drugs without medical adviceSubscription

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.

Community pharmacies in Wales will receive hospital discharge information electronically from hospitals from March 2015 in new pilot scheme

Electronic sharing of hospital discharge information moves closer in WalesSubscription

Some community pharmacies in Wales will be able to receive electronic discharge information from hospitals  from March 2015.

A personal DNA screening test kit based on saliva samples could identify genetic risk of diseases such as cystic fibrosis and Parkinson's disease and predict response to drugs will now be available in the UK

DNA test kit offers consumers the chance to predict response to drugsSubscription

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.

X-ray of patient with pneumonia (pictured). GPs should conduct C-reactive protein tests before prescribing antibiotics to treat patients with pneumonia, NICE recommends

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.

There has been an increase in pharmacy flu vaccinations in Wales between 2013 and 2014

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.

Pharmacy leaders call on politicians to sign up to community pharmacy manifestoSubscription

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.

Fifth pharmacist falls foul of regulator after BBC stingSubscription

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.

Pharmacists from the European Economic Area will have to provide proof of language skills to the pharmacy regulator to be able to work in the UK

UK pharmacy regulator supports plans to test English language competencySubscription

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 accused of targeting the salaries of longer-serving pharmacists by the PDA Union

Boots to benchmark pharmacist salaries in 2015 pay reviewSubscription

Boots will compare an individual pharmacist’s salary to an external market median for its pay review scheme in 2015.

The Department of Health will review hospital pharmacy services in order to identify cost savings

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.

The Vale of Leven Hospital inquiry report, chaired by Lord Maclean, criticises NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde for failure to adopt prudent antibiotic prescribing practices that contributed to the deaths of 34 patients from Clostridium difficule infection

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.

Chief pharmacists warned of the urgent need for succession planning as a large number of NHS pharmacists across the UK responsible for spending some £5bn on hospital medicines are set to retire in the next 5 years, a recent review concluded

Chief pharmacists warned of need for succession planning for procurement rolesSubscription

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.

Community pharmacists who offer support to drug misusers can help screen at-risk groups for hepatitis C (pictured)

Community pharmacists could screen at-risk groups for liver diseaseSubscription

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.

Delay to planned management change of NHS smartcard systemSubscription

A planned change to the management of the smartcard system used by pharmacists in England when accessing the electronic prescription service has been delayed.

More UK news

More research briefings

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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