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Issue : The Pharmaceutical Journal, 7 February 2015, Vol 294, No 7848

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  • In January 2014, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) approved a combination hepatitis C treatment. However, it costs over US$80,000 for a 12-week course

    Rolling out hepatitis C treatments will be costly Subscription

    5 FEB 2015 15:00

    The new generation of heptatitis C antivirals is highly effective, but the drugs’ expense will put pressure on healthcare providers.

  • A range of anti-smoking policies and new cessation products has led to reduced rates of smoking in most countries, which will eventually impact on smoking-related deaths.

    A decade of smoking cessation in Europe Subscription

    5 FEB 2015 By Dawn Connelly

    The continent with the worst smoking habit is gradually giving it up. A range of anti-smoking policies and new cessation products has led to reduced rates of smoking in most countries, which will eventually impact on smoking-related deaths.

  • The Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) will expand practice assessments that will allow pharmacists with two to 10 years experience to gain Faculty accreditation in April this year

    RPS offers first Faculty assessments to pharmacists with two years’ experience Subscription

    5 FEB 2015 14:46 By Stephen Robinson
    Comments (1)

    In April 2015, the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) Faculty will consider applications for membership from pharmacists with at least two years’ post-registration experience for the first time, it has been announced.

  • A randomised trial involving 91 children undergoing tonsillectomy has highlighted safety concerns with morphine for pain management after surgery

    Study highlights safety concerns over morphine use after tonsillectomy Subscription

    5 FEB 2015 14:45
    Comments (1)

    New research suggests that morphine should not be used for post-operative pain in children, as it may be unsafe in some children.

  • Ash Soni, RPS President

    RPS president: becoming a royal college would give us greater gravitas Subscription

    5 FEB 2015 11:52 By Stephen Robinson

    Six months into the role, Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) President Ash Soni talks to Stephen Robinson about how the Society could become a royal college and why pharmacists will come to be seen as the ‘glue’ holding together the NHS and social care.

  • Women who have used oral contraceptives have an increased risk of developing glioma, a rare brain tumour, new research finds

    Oral contraceptives linked with increased risk of brain tumours Subscription

    5 FEB 2015 11:07

    Women who have ever used oral contraceptives have an increased risk of developing glioma – a rare brain tumour – compared with the general population, according to new research.

  • Foods high in salt, sugar and fat should be taxed to discourage unhealthy eating and slow rates of childhood obesity

    A tax on junk food is the way to fight the childhood obesity crisis Subscription

    5 FEB 2015 11:03 By Colin Michie
    Comments (1)

    Foods high in salt, sugar and fat should be taxed to discourage unhealthy eating and slow rates of childhood obesity, says Colin Michie.

  • Recent research shows that interleukin-10 (pictured), an anti-inflammatory cytokine, actually increased the deposition of apolipoprotein E protein in a mouse model of Alzheimer's disease

    Research challenges ‘cytokine storm’ hypothesis of Alzheimer’s disease Subscription

    4 FEB 2015 16:28

    Interleukin-10 – an anti-inflammatory cytokine – has detrimental effects in a mouse model of Alzheimer’s disease (AD), challenging the “cytokine storm” hypothesis of AD progression.

  • Still not convinced pharmacy student numbers should be capped Subscription

    4 FEB 2015 12:06 By Barry Shooter
    Comments (1)

    In 2013 I explained in detail why I am in favour of market forces determining the number of students entering the MPharm course (The Pharmaceutical Journal 2013;291:246) rather than a cap being applied.

  • Ravi Sharma, senior primary care pharmacist and quality assurance lead

    Helping newly registered pharmacists to work in general practice Subscription

    4 FEB 2015 10:59 By Ravi Sharma

    Newly registered pharmacists have been given the opportunity to work with GPs in southern England as part of a programme run by a consortium of GP surgeries. Ravi Sharma, senior primary care pharmacist and quality assurance lead, explains how the programme was set up and what it has achieved.

  • Sydney Crowther dies Subscription

    3 FEB 2015 14:05

    On 19 January 2015, Sydney Crowther MRPharmS, aged 95, of Maddington Place, Shrewton, Salisbury SP3 4JE. Mr Crowther registered with the Society in 1942.

  • MRI brain scan that shows the temporal lobe. An analysis of 129 people with temporal lobe epilepsy and found that genetic control of convulsions was due to a single gene, Sestrin 3 (SESN3)

    Sestrin 3 gene regulates convulsions in epilepsy Subscription

    3 FEB 2015 14:03

    Researchers analysed hippocampal brain tissue samples from 129 people with temporal lobe epilepsy and found that genetic control of convulsions was due to a single gene.

  • Tribute to Sydney Crowther Subscription

    3 FEB 2015 13:56 By Alison Ewing

    When Sydney Crowther passed away on 19 January 2015 at the fine age of 95, it was the end of an era for pharmacy. He was a remarkable man and a passionate “old-school” pharmacist.

  • Anti-VEGF (vascular endothelial growth factor) therapies could help treat tuberculosis, research finds. In the image, SEM of tuberculosis bacteria.

    Anti-VEGF therapies could have role in treating TB Subscription

    3 FEB 2015 13:28

    Bevacizumab, an anti-VEGF drug, was able to normalise granuloma vasculature, improve the delivery of small molecules and decrease hypoxia in a rabbit model of tuberculosis.

  • Pharmacy support for carers

    3 FEB 2015 13:27

    The Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) has produced a resouce to help community pharmacy teams to support carers. Support from healthcare professionals for carers is a priority for NHS England. The resource can be accessed from the PSNC website. 

  • Breakyl side effects

    3 FEB 2015 13:27

    The summary of product characteristics of Breakyl (fentanyl: Meda) has been updated to include the following adverse reactions: fall, flushing and hot flush, diarrhoea, fatigue, respiratory depression, malaise, peripheral oedema, convulsion, hallucination. In addition it is now contraidndicated in treatment of acute pain other than breakthrough pain.

  • Adherence to glucose lowering therapies in diabetes patients falls following a cancer diagnosis, new research finds

    Adherence to diabetes treatments falls after a cancer diagnosis Subscription

    3 FEB 2015 12:22

    Adherence to glucose lowering therapies in diabetes patients falls following a cancer diagnosis.

  • Iclusig warnings

    3 FEB 2015 12:16

    The summary of product characteristics of Iclusig (ponatinib; Ariad) now warns that there is a risk of vascular occlusive events, congestive heart failure and haemorrhage. There is also new information relating to assessment of cardiovascular status and alternative treatment.

  • Maternal, newborn and child health webinars

    3 FEB 2015 12:16

    The International Pharmaceutical Federation’s (FIP) Community Pharmacy Section (CPS) is launching a series of four free webinars to support pharmacists’ efforts in maternal, newborn and child health. The first webinar, which takes place on 18 February 2015 at 11am CET, will give a background to maternal, newborn and child health (MNCH) in the context of the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals, but particularly in terms of delivering ...

  • Elvanse side effects and administration

    3 FEB 2015 12:15

    The summary of product characteristics for Elvanse (lisdexamfetamine; Shire) has been updated to include constipation and Raynaud’s phenomenon as undesirable effects and anorexia deleted as an undesirable effect. The frequencies of nine other undesirable effects have been updated. In addition there have been changes to the poslogy and administration and interactions sections.  

  • Seth Berkley, chief executive officer of GAVI Alliance which brings together public and private sectors to bring new and underused vaccines for children living in poor countries

    Q&A: Getting life-saving vaccines to children in poor countries Subscription

    3 FEB 2015 9:52 By John Zarocostas

    Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, brings together public and private sectors to deliver new and underused vaccines for children living in poor countries. Seth Berkley, its chief executive officer, discusses the current challenges to increase immunisation coverage in poor countries.

  • Translocator proteins (TSPO) pair up: each protein contains five helices that can bind to porphyrins, as well as PK11195 and cholesterol.

    Structure of translocator protein hints at role in disease Subscription

    2 FEB 2015 17:37 By Mark Peplow

    Two research groups have independently solved the structures of similar translocator proteins, offering clues about its function that could spur the development of targeted drugs.

  • UK government provides £13.7m for ‘stratified medicine’ collaborations Subscription

    2 FEB 2015 17:23

    The UK government has announced £13.7m of funding for four ‘stratified medicine’ collaborations with the Medical Research Council.

  • Cholic acid named ‘Golden Pill’ in Prescrire’s annual awards Subscription

    2 FEB 2015 16:44

    ‘A drug used to treat children with a rare genetic condition who are unable to produce bile and risk fatal liver failure has received international recognition.

  • Tribute to Peter West Subscription

    2 FEB 2015 12:28 By Angela West

    Peter worked and tutored a range of pharmacy disciplines in Huddersfield Royal, Seacroft Hospital, St James’ Teaching Hospital and Battle Hospital, Reading, before becoming staff pharmacist at the Royal Hallamshire in Sheffield.

  • Calcium-Sandoz syrup discontinued

    30 JAN 2015 17:04

    Calcium-Sandoz Syrup (calcium glubionate 1.09g and calcium lactobionate 0.727g per 5ml) has been discontinued in the UK by Alliance Pharmaceuticals and there is no remaining stock available. Calcium-Sandoz Syrup has not been readily available in the UK for over one year due manufacturing issues that have been unable to be resolved. Further information on +44 (01)249 466966. 

  • Erivedge side effects updated Subscription

    30 JAN 2015 16:41

    The summary of product characteristics of Erivedge (vismodegib; Roche) has been updated to reflect a change in frequency values for some of the most common adverse drug reactions (alopecia, dysgeusia, weight decreased and fatique). Diarrhoea has also been added to this section. The adverse reactions table has been updated to reflect ...

  • Lipid modification learning tool

    30 JAN 2015 16:40

    The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has launched a new online learning tool – Lipid modification. Developed by the Centre for Pharmacy Postgraduate Education, the tool supports the implementation of NICE guideline 181, called Lipid modification. It is available from the

  • Electronic safety update repository launched by EMA

    30 JAN 2015 16:39

    An electronic repository for periodic safety update reports (PSURs) and their assessment reports has been launched by the European Medicines Agency (EMA). The central platform was created in accordance with the pharmacovigilance legislation of the European Union (EU) and will contain all information related to PSURs in the EU. It will facilitate the assessment of PSURs by medicines ...

  • Eculizumab approved by NICE Subscription

    30 JAN 2015 16:37

    The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence approved the use of eculizumab (Soliris) for the treatment of atypical haemolytic uraemic syndrome (aHUS) for NHS patients in England on 27 January 2015. But conditions were attached: the product should be made available through an expert centre, the number of people diagnosed with aHUS and those being treated with eculizumab must be recorded and monitored, a national clinical protocol should be established for starting and stopping ...

  • Fat-burning diet pills Subscription

    30 JAN 2015 16:32

    23 January 2015: A number of BBC News outlets reported on the use of fat-burning diet pills, bought legally from health shops and sometimes gyms. Jayne Lawrence, RPS chief scientist, was interviewed about the possible dangers of taking these supplements. Jayne spoke to BBC radio stations in Lincolnshire, Bristol, West Midlands, Shropshire, Newcastle and Humberside, as well as BBC Look North.

  • Wednesday 4 March: Aberdeen Subscription

    30 JAN 2015 16:30

    Local practice forum event, ’Foundation Years Celebration’. Riverside East, Robert Gordon University, Garthdee Road, Aberdeen AB10 7QB. Event 7.15pm, buffet 6.30pm. Contact b.addison@rgu.ac.uk to join by webinar. Book to attend event via RPS website.

  • Researchers dispute analysis that finds oseltamivir (Roche's Tamiflu) cuts flu symptoms by a day

    Tamiflu shortens flu symptoms by a day, study finds Subscription

    30 JAN 2015 14:45 By Ingrid Torjesen

    Oseltamivir (Roche’s Tamiflu) shortens the duration of flu symptoms by approximately a day, in infected patients, according to an analysis published in The Lancet.

  • Apremilast, an oral drug for psoriasis conditions, has been approved by the European Commission. Psoriasis (pictured) is an autoimmune disease

    First-in-class oral drug approved for psoriasis conditions in Europe Subscription

    30 JAN 2015 12:46 By Joanna Lyford
    Comments (1)

    The European Commission has authorised apremilast (Celgene’s Otezla), a first-in-class oral drug for the treatment of chronic plaque psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis in patients who have failed first-line systemic therapies.

  • John Moran dies Subscription

    30 JAN 2015 11:45

    On 15 January 2015, John Moran MRPharmS, aged 63, of 28 Goose Lane, Wickersley, Rotherham S66 1JS. Mr Moran registered with the Society in 1973.

  • Susan Dawn Hawker dies Subscription

    30 JAN 2015 11:45

    On 26 January 2015, Susan Dawn Hawker MRPharmS, aged 49, of Low Gelt Barn, Low Gelt, Brampton, Cumbria CA8 1SY. Mrs Hawker registered with the Society in 1988.

  • Dementia link to common medicines Subscription

    30 JAN 2015 11:45

    28 January 2015: A report was published which links commonly used medicines, including some over-the-counter treatments, to dementia. RPS English pharmacy board chair David Branford was interviewed by LBC Radio and Channel 5 News.

  • Wednesday 25 February: SW Scotland Subscription

    30 JAN 2015 11:44

    Local practice forum event, ‘Sale of P medicines: would you and your staff pass the Which? mystery shopper test and GPhC Premises Standards Inspection?’ In collaboration with the University of Aberdeen. Creebridge House Hotel, Minnigaff, Newton Stewart, Wigtownshire, Dumfries and Galloway DG8 6NP. Member-only event with invited staff. Event 7pm–9pm, buffet 6.15pm. Book via the South West Scotland LPF website.

  • Thursday 26 February: SW Scotland Subscription

    30 JAN 2015 11:40

    Local practice forum event, ’Sale of P medicines: would you and your staff pass the Which? mystery shopper test and GPhC Premises Standards Inspection?’ In collaboration with the University of Aberdeen. Gailes Hotel, Marine Drive, Irvine, Ayrshire KA11 5AE

  • Tuesday 17 February: South Yorkshire and Humber Subscription

    30 JAN 2015 11:38

    Local practice forum event, ’Update on COPD’. Oaklands Hall Hotel, Barton Street, Laceby, Grimsby DN37 7LF. Event 6.45pm for 7.30pm start. Book via sec2015@dashlpf.org.uk.

  • Tom Ellis Owen dies Subscription

    30 JAN 2015 11:37

    On 1 January 2015, Tom Ellis Owen MRPharmS, aged 96, of Waterloo House - Alpha Care Home, Waterloo Road, Bidford-on-Avon, Alcester B50 4JH. Mr Owen registered with the Society in 1947. He served on the Pharmaceutical Society’s Council 1976–1985.

  • Strong placebo effect connected with the perception of drug cost in Parkinson's disease, study finds

    Perception of drug cost influences placebo response in Parkinson’s disease Subscription

    29 JAN 2015 17:25 By Coeli Carr
    Comments (1)

    Treatment perceived to be expensive, even though it was a placebo, led to a two-fold improvement in motor function in Parkinson’s disease patients compared with a treatment perceived to be cheap.

  • Tetracycline causing tooth discolouration not a trivial matter Subscription

    29 JAN 2015 11:49 By Christina Bellamy

    Your CPD article on re-implanting an avulsed tooth (The Pharmaceutical Journal 2014;294:56) states that antibiotics should be prescribed. Although the reference given does indeed state that tetracycline can be prescribed, it goes on to remind the reader that most jurisdictions do not advise that tetracycline is given to patients under 12, because of ...

  • Moorfields Eye Hospital to close its specials manufacturing facility Subscription

    28 JAN 2015 15:30

    Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust has decided to close its specials manufacturing facility in London, its board has announced.

  • Eculizumab — with £340,200 price tag — gets go ahead from NICE Subscription

    28 JAN 2015 11:53

    Eculizumab, dubbed “the world’s most expensive drug”, is being made available on the NHS in England following guidance from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence.

  • People aged over 65 who take some common over-the-counter or prescribed medicines for allergy, depression or an overactive bladder have an increased risk of developing dementia

    Older patients taking anticholinergic drugs are at risk of dementia Subscription

    27 JAN 2015 18:18 By Debbie Andalo
    Comments (1)

    People aged over 65 years who take some common over-the-counter or prescribed medicines for allergy, depression or an overactive bladder have an increased risk of developing dementia.

  • EMA recommends suspending licences for 700 drugs over flawed analyses by GVK Biosciences Subscription

    27 JAN 2015 15:37
    Comments (1)

    The European Medicines Agency is recommending that the marketing authorisation be suspended for more than 700 generic products tested by GVK Biosciences.

  • Hepatitis C is a blood-borne single-stranded RNA flavivirus with six major genotypes, affecting an estimated 185 million people worldwide.

    Latest advances in hepatitis C therapy Subscription

    27 JAN 2015 By Aisling Considine

    The availability of new protease inhibitors is revolutionising the treatment of hepatitis C virus infection.

  • Researchers studying endometriosis (pictured) have developed two compounds, chloroindazole (CLI) and oxabicycloheptene sulfonate (OBHS), which bind to oestrogen receptors, control inflammation and reduce lesions in a mice model of the disease.

    Oestrogen receptor ligands show promise for treating endometriosis Subscription

    27 JAN 2015 9:47 By Andrea Chipman

    Researchers studying endometriosis have discovered a potential way to treat the disease that avoids many of the side effects seen with existing therapies.

  • Writing a good covering letter for a pharmacy job can help you stand out from other applicants

    How to write a successful pharmacy cover letter Subscription

    26 JAN 2015 17:22 By Amy Zydzienowski
    Comments (1)

    Writing a cover letter that helps you stand out from other applicants can be challenging. Pharmacy career consultant Amy Zydzienowski, from Vertica Career Consultants, explains how it is done.

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