The Health News – 24 February 2017

• The details of how fake prescription pills were found at Sydney Children’s Hospital in  2010 incident is now discovered. A staff member noticed something different about the pills and phoned the manufacturer Pfizer to raise her concerns. Pfizer told her she had a counterfeit product.

• Researchers have found a way to extend the life of mice by up to 40% through various means including gene therapies. Researchers have started experimenting the effects on themselves.

• About 10 Australian couples are unable to bring surrogate babies home months after birth as they wait for the Government in Phnom Penh to draft new laws on surrogacy.

News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the  24th of February 2017. Read by Rebecca Foster. Health News

Thousands of counterfeit prescription pills made their way into Australia’s official supply chain and ended up at a children’s hospital in Sydney, an investigation has found.

The details of the 2010 incident have only recently come to light, as the pharmacist who supplied the fakes fights the cancellation of his licence.

A staff member at the Sydney Children’s Hospital in Randwick was crushing Viagra tablets, which can be used to treat children with pulmonary hypertension, when she noticed something different about the pills.

“What [she] noticed was that the consistency of the tablets wasn’t normal. It appeared to be a bit grittier than normal,” Bruce Battye, the NSW deputy chief pharmacist said.

The hospital pharmacist phoned the manufacturer Pfizer to raise her concerns. Pfizer told her she had a counterfeit product.

NSW Health insisted the fakes were found before any were given to patients, but doctors said there could have been serious consequences had babies been treated with the counterfeits.

The counterfeit Viagra was unknowingly supplied by Symbion, one of Australia’s biggest medical distributors.

In the three months leading up to the incident in June 2010, Symbion distributed more than 20,000 Viagra pills.

One of its suppliers was licensed pharmacist Mina Attia, who had sold Symbion fakes.

Following a lengthy investigation, Mr Attia had his registration as a pharmacist cancelled, but he is currently fighting that decision in the NSW Supreme Court.

Symbion said it had learnt from the incident and now only bought pharmaceuticals directly from the manufacturer.

Can transhumanists, biohackers and grinders live forever?

The answer is maybe soon — at least according to them.

Ok. So what’s a transhumanist?

Like some scientists, they believe that ageing is a disease, and they are not afraid of taking human evolution into their own hands by harnessing genetic engineering, nanotechnology and artificial intelligence.

Sydney-based IT innovation manager and self-described transhumanist Peter Xing says Australians aged in their 20s and 30s could now end up living long enough to live forever.

In the last couple of years, researchers have extended the life of mice by up to 40 per cent through various means including gene therapies.

Human trials are a long way off because of tight government regulations, but many researchers have started experimenting on themselves.

Grinders or biohackers are people who augment their bodies with technology.

This could be as crude as implanting magnets under your skin — a procedure that can be done at some tattoo and body piercing studios — or slightly more high-tech like getting microchips placed inside your body.

Aside from physical modifications, the race is also on to reach a new, super intelligence.

Around 10 Australian couples have been left in legal limbo in Cambodia — unable to bring surrogate babies home months after their birth — as they wait for the Government in Phnom Penh to draft new laws on surrogacy.

The Cambodian Government has begun drafting legislation that will likely ban commercial surrogacy but may allow some form of altruistic surrogacy under strict regulations.

The move comes after an Australian nurse, Tammy Davis-Charles, was charged in November with running an illegal surrogacy clinic in Phnom Penh. She is still in custody awaiting trial.

At the time of her arrest there was no law against surrogacy in Cambodia. Instead, Davis-Charles was charged by police who deal with human trafficking.

Now six government ministries are drafting Cambodia’s first surrogacy legislation, with consultation from the United Nations.

A spokesman from the Ministry of Women’s Affairs said officials were examining similar laws in Australia, Thailand and India, though it was too early to say exactly what the new laws would include.

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