The Health News United Kingdom November 22 2017

  • Decades after they were banned from the airwaves, Big Tobacco companies return to prime-time television this weekend — but not by choice. Under court order, the tobacco industry for the first time will be forced to advertise the deadly, addictive effects of smoking, more than eleven years after a judge ruled that the companies had misled the public about the dangers of cigarettes.  Anti-tobacco advocates estimate the upcoming TV advertisements will cost companies a tiny fraction of that, about $30 million dollars.
  • According to a new US study, high school athletes have high rates of hand and wrist injuries, especially in certain sports. The authors say that football players have the highest risk by far, but lacrosse, field and ice hockey, wrestling, softball and basketball also carry higher odds of these injuries, which can require costly surgery and keep kids out of the game for weeks.
  • The nine-year-old Jacob Thompson whose wish for Christmas cards went viral died on Sunday, one week after he was able to enjoy a special celebration of his favorite holiday. Jacob who had been battling stage 4 high risk neuroblastoma since age 5, had received thousands of cards and gifts from strangers all over the world.

News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the 22nd of November 2017. Read by Tabetha Moreto.

The number of people turning to food banks grew by almost fourteen percent in three years, according to a new study which warned of a growing public health crisis from poor nutrition.
The study suggested that previous reports on growing scale of food bank usage might have been overstated, because it includes repeat usage, but its findings show usage is clearly “becoming more widespread”.  The author also notes this was based on data from a West Cheshire food bank with a more affluent population – and lower unemployment – than the national average. Despite this, the paper published in the journal BMC Public Health found one in every one hundred West Cheshire residents used food banks each year.

The study used data from the Trussell Trust, and population statistics for the region between two thousand thirteen and two thousand fifteen. In two thousand fourteen, the year with the highest food bank use, one point zero one per cent of adults and two point twenty nine per cent of children living in West Cheshire received emergency food.  Conservative Member of Parliament Jacob Rees-Mogg stoked outrage earlier this year by saying he found the growing use of food banks to be “uplifting”.

Half of children making use of food banks are primary school age, according to the Trust, the largest provider of emergency food in Britain. However, the true scale is hard to pin down as there also hundreds of “hidden” independent providers. Across this period, total food bank usage grew by almost a third or twenty nine per cent. This includes repeat usage, which the authors say shows emergency food is inadequate for tackling food poverty in the UK. This data also shows that a quarter of all food parcels went to the seven per cent of users, who turned to emergency food six times a year or more. The report concludes: “Growth in the distribution of emergency food was inflated by a rising number of people visiting the food bank on multiple occasions, indicating – as expected – that headline Trussell Trust figures overstate the scale of food bank use in Britain.

The Competition and Markets Authority has found that the drug company Concordia overcharged the NHS by millions for a key thyroid treatment. The CMA said that last year the NHS spent thirty four million pounds on its drug, liothyronine, up from about six hundred thousand pounds in two thousand six. The amount the NHS paid per pack rose from around four point forty six pounds in two thousand seven to two hundred fifty eight point nineteen by July two thousand seventeen, an increase of almost six thousand percent.

Concordia said it did “not believe that competition law has been infringed”. The price change occurred in the years after the drug was de-branded in two thousand seven. The CMA said the price rise took place despite “broadly stable” production costs.

Canadian drugs giant Concordia sells drugs to patients in more than one hundred countries.
Liothyronine tablets are primarily used to treat hypothyroidism, a condition caused by a deficiency of thyroid hormone affecting at least two in every one hundred people and which can lead to depression, tiredness and weight gain. Until earlier this year, Concordia was the only supplier of the drug. CMA chief executive, Andrea Coscelli, said: “Pharmaceutical companies which abuse their position and overcharge for drugs are forcing the NHS – and the UK taxpayer – to pay over the odds for important medical treatments. Prescription medicines that are still under patent can be expensive, but the government caps profits from any that are sold to the NHS to keep costs low. But this system does not cover so-called “generic medicines”, where a drug’s patent has run out. The loophole means the price of older, established drugs coming off patent can rocket. A company, after filing and obtaining appropriate approval, can start trading the rebranded medicine and set a high price for it through a process known as “debranding”.
It’s something the Competition and Markets Authority has challenged a number of drugs companies over. The CMA is pursuing another seven investigations into several companies in relation to drug pricing and competition issues.

A report by a men’s health charity has warned that  diabetes is “decimating men”, with one in ten now affected.  The report, created by the Men’s Health Forum, highlights that men are twenty six percent more likely to develop type two diabetes than women, which can potentially have life-changing or even life-ending consequences. The researchers also found that men are more likely to be overweight than women (with a body mass index of twenty five plus), which is known to raise the risk of type two diabetes. However, men are also more likely to develop diabetes at a lower BMI than women. Despite this, men are less likely to be aware that they are overweight or to participate in weight management programmes. In light of the findings, the charity has called on the National Diabetes Prevention Programme to be better designed and delivered in ways that work for men. Looking at NHS data, the research uncovered that the vast majority or sixty nine point six percent of diabetes patients presenting with a foot ulcer are men.

The age-standardised mortality rate for men with an underlying cause of death as diabetes mellitus was found to be forty percent higher than it is for women. Martin Tod, chief executive of the Men’s Health Forum commented: “Men are more likely to get diabetes. More likely to suffer complications.  More likely to face amputation as a result of diabetes. And more likely to die from diabetes.

Liked it? Take a second to support healthprofessionalradio on Patreon!


Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.