The Health News Australia July 11 2017


  • Two-thirds of drug company-sponsored events occur in clinical settings. Royal North Shore Hospital tops the list of Sydney hospitals hosting these events .
  • Australia should meet its financial commitments for women’s sexual and reproductive health at the Family Planning 2020 Summit in London on July 11, 2017.
  • Women from South Asian countries giving birth in Australia are 27% more likely to experience stillbirth than women from Australia according to studies.

News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the 11th of July 2017. Read by Tabetha Moreto. Health News

New research shows that two-thirds of all drug company-sponsored events for health professionals occur in clinical settings such as hospitals and doctors’ offices.

Researchers from The University of Sydney – who created a database of one hundred and seventeen thousand pharmaceutical company-funded events held over a four year period – said it was alarming to discover sixty four percent occurred in clinical settings.

According to Doctor Ray Moynihan, one of the researchers from Bond University said while the wining and dining in flashy restaurants have captured the public’s imagination and drawn outrage, these routine flows of influence within hospitals may well be far more insidious.

He also states “I don’t think many patients would appreciate how often their hospital doctors and nurses are being educated courtesy of drug company money.”

Royal North Shore Hospital in Saint Leonards was followed by Westmead Hospital, which hosted one thousand eight hundred and seventy-eight events that cost the companies nearly six hundred thirty thousand dollars and Royal Prince Alfred in Camperdown, which hosted one thousand seven hundred functions worth nearly seven hundred thousand dollars.

Sponsored events were largely a marketing strategy and even the provision of a twenty dollar meal was associated with an increase in the prescribing of costly, promoted drugs.

Human Rights Watch said in a letter to Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop that the Australian government should meet its financial commitments for sexual and reproductive health at the Family Planning two thousand and twenty Summit in London on July eleven two thousand and seventeen. At the summit, more than thirty six governments will review progress on the goal to enable one hundred and twenty million more women worldwide to access a modern form of contraception by two thousand and twenty.

In two thousand and twelve Australia pledged to double funding for family planning services to fifty three million dollars (forty million US dollars) a year, but instead its assistance declined to twenty four million Australian dollars (eighteen million US dollars) in two thousand and sixteen. Using the international methodology agreed at the two thousand and twelve London Family Planning Summit, Bishop has repeatedly expressed Australia’s commitment to women’s rights, and a goal that eighty percent of Australia’s aid budget address “gender equality and women’s issues and their empowerment.”

Newly released estimates show that  two hundred fourteen million women in developing countries who wish to avoid pregnancy have an unmet need for modern contraception. Complications from pregnancy and childbirth are the second leading cause of death for adolescents ages fifteen to twenty globally and cause more than eight hundred women and girls to die each day. The WHO estimates that at least twenty two thousand women die from abortion-related complications each year.  Australia has long shown a commitment to sexual and reproductive health, particularly in humanitarian settings, which will be a priority topic at the summit.

The study from the Hudson Institute of Medical Research and Monash University looked at more than seven hundred thousand births in Victoria between  two thousand and two thousand and eleven. Of those, two thousand two hundred and ninety nine were stillbirths.

Lead author Doctor Miranda Davies-Tuck, from the Hudson Institute of Medical Research, said women from South Asian countries giving birth in Australia are twenty seven percent more likely to experience stillbirth than women from Australia. She also states that they found placenta aged at different rates in women of different ethnicities.There’s a number of different causes for stillbirths. A lot of the stillbirths that occur particularly in the ‘term’ period [number of weeks of gestation, normally 40] are considered unexplained. So, we don’t know why those babies have died. One hypothesis is that the placenta ages unto a point where it’s unable to sustain a baby anymore and for some reason that woman doesn’t go into labour on her own.

“We saw that the risk of stillbirth for a South Asian mother at thirty nine weeks was equivalent to an Australian-born mother at forty one weeks and that’s when we would normally start to offer intervention because of the risk.”

Doctor Davies-Tuck said the trial was crucial because rates of stillbirth in Australia had not improved in the last two decades and that in Australia, six babies are stillborn every day. There

is an urgent need to identify new strategies to reduce the rate of stillbirth, for families and their babies.


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