The Health News – 21 June 2016

Overview:
•  The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has lodged a case in the Federal Court against Queensland-based companies Social-Lites and Elusion New Zealand. The ACCC alleges the companies claimed on their websites that their e-cigarettes did not contain the carcinogens or toxic chemicals found in regular cigarettes.

• There has been a slow uptake of the heroin-reversing drug Naloxone since being made available over the counter, and experts say the cost is a barrier for drug users. Chris Gough, a past drug user and now a spokesman for several peer-based drug user groups, including the Canberra Alliance for Harm Minimisation and Advocacy, said not every pharmacist had been welcoming the change.

• Nine of 11 specialist doctors from the Launceston General Hospital’s emergency department are resigning, retiring or reducing their hours. The emergency room nurse who did not want to be named for fear of reprisal said doctors and nurses were leaving because of the stress.

News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the  21st of June 2016. Read by Rebecca Foster. Health News

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-06-20/tests-allege-e-cigarettes-have-cancer-causing-ingredients/7526364

Two e-cigarette companies are being accused of misleading consumers by claiming their products are not harmful despite allegedly containing toxic chemicals.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has lodged a case in the Federal Court against Queensland-based companies Social-Lites and Elusion New Zealand.

The ACCC alleges the companies claimed on their websites that their e-cigarettes did not contain the carcinogens or toxic chemicals found in regular cigarettes.

ACCC chairman Rod Sims said the companies “did not have a reasonable basis for making those claims”.

“When we tested the products we in fact found they did contain particular carcinogens and toxins,” he told the ABC.

“We got testing through the National Measurement Institute, which is the premier institute in Australia for product testing for liquids and chemicals.

“We got them to do that testing as if you were vaping the product, and the allegations we have from that testing is that both Social-Lites and Elusion contain both carcinogens and toxins.”

The ACCC said its testing showed formaldehyde and acetaldehyde were present in both brands of e-cigarettes, among other toxins.

Social-Lites spokesman Lee O’Hare said it was never the company’s intention to mislead consumers.

“I will tell people it’s a smarter choice rather than stating it’s (a) healthier one,” he told the ABC in an email.

“We are lead to believe via many independent studies from around the world that electronic cigarettes like our premium electronic cigarette starter kit … would not produce carcinogens.

Elusion New Zealand has been contacted for comment.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-06-20/heroin-antidote-naloxone-over-the-counter-cost-a-deterrent/7526306

There has been a [slow] uptake of the heroin-reversing drug Naloxone since being made available over the counter, and experts say the cost is a barrier for drug users.

In February, Australia became just the second nation in the world, behind Italy, to allow the drug to be sold without a prescription.

That means drug users, and their family and friends, can get Naloxone over the counter and carry it, in case it is needed.

Medical professionals had been advocating for the change for decades.

Some experts say the drug should be made available free of charge, and pharmacists have called for training in administration of the drug.

Chris Gough, a past drug user and now a spokesman for several peer-based drug user groups, including the Canberra Alliance for Harm Minimisation and Advocacy, said not every pharmacist had been welcoming …the change.

However, Mr Gough said he believed the rescheduling of Nalozone to make it available without a prescription would help to save lives.

Recently, 13 people died in Sydney from what the New South Wales coroner feared was a “deadly” batch of heroin.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-06-20/staffing-conditions-making-launceston-hospital-dangerous/7527102

Tasmania’s second largest hospital has been described as “dangerous” by a nurse concerned about stressful working conditions at Launceston General Hospital (LGH).

Nine of 11 specialist doctors from the hospital’s emergency department are resigning, retiring or reducing their hours.

The emergency room nurse who did not want to be named for fear of reprisal said doctors and nurses were leaving because of the stress.

“It’s dangerous and it’s … from … spreading resources so thin that no-one can safely be doing their job, and even if they do get fly-in, fly-out doctors to be doing that, it’s still in a very kind of band-aid type environment and it’s just not safe,” they said.

Health Minister Michael Ferguson insisted the resignations were not putting patient care at risk and he blamed a range of factors including retirements for falling staff numbers.

But the concerned emergency nurse said she did not agree with the Minister’s take on the situation.

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