The Health News Australia February 15 2018

  • A new report has found that big drug companies are spending thousands of dollars educating doctors about expensive medications for depression, osteoporosis and overactive bladder that are not necessarily considered the preferred treatment.  In one case, researchers found a company spent more than $11,000 on a private dinner for eighteen specialists at a top Sydney restaurant to discuss a new drug.
  • A new immunotherapy treatment to help tackle brain cancer is being developed by Melbourne scientists. New Melbourne research shows that adapting a successful blood cancer therapy could be the answer to treating notoriously difficult brain tumours. The innovative CAR-T therapy redirects the immune system to attack cancer cells but is only effective in treating blood cancers like childhood leukaemia and not solid cancers like brain tumours.
  • Heart attack survivors are being encouraged to talk to their doctor about sex, with many health professionals failing to address the health issue. A Heart Foundation survey, released on Wednesday, has found fewer than 1 in 4 health professionals regularly conduct conversations about sexual activity and intimacy with their heart attack patients. This is despite most (80%) believing it is an important issue to be discussed. When they do bring up the subject of sex, the patient is more likely to be a woman than a man.

News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the 15th of February 2018. Read by Tabetha Moreto.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-02-14/study-of-big-pharma-education-events-for-doctors-overtreatment/9442964

A new report has found that big drug companies are spending thousands of dollars educating doctors about expensive medications for depression, osteoporosis and overactive bladder that are not necessarily considered the preferred treatment.  In one case, researchers found a company spent more than eleven thousand dollars on a private dinner for eighteen specialists at a top Sydney restaurant to discuss a new drug.

One of the report’s authors, University of Sydney senior lecturer Barbara Mintzes, said attendance at these educational events could potentially lead to overtreatment, or lead doctors to prescribe less effective drugs.
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The research, by the university’s Charles Perkins Centre for Evidence, Policy and Influence, looked at events for health workers for the three conditions: depression, osteoporosis and overactive bladder. That’s because these conditions are all, “highlighted in medical literature as potentially subject to overdiagnosis and overtreatment”. The report found prescribing rates for a new medication for overactive bladder, Mirabegron, which is not on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, tripled from mid-two thousand fourteen to mid-two thousand fifteen.
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The research, published in the medical journal BMJOpen, revealed large increases in prescribing rates for many of the medications discussed at educational events.
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A spokesman for the pharmaceutical industry body, Medicines Australia, said engagement with pharmaceutical companies was an important and legitimate part of a medical practitioner’s ongoing education. The research found most often it was general practitioners attending the educational events, which were held as dinners at restaurants, rather than in a hospital or clinic. More than one hundred thousand medical professionals attended three thousand events in four years, to September two thousand fifteen.

https://healthtimes.com.au/hub/oncology/4/news/aap/research-shows-new-hope-in-battle-against-brain-tumours/3177/

A new immunotherapy treatment to help tackle brain cancer is being developed by Melbourne scientists. New Melbourne research shows that adapting a successful blood cancer therapy could be the answer to treating notoriously difficult brain tumours. The innovative CAR-T therapy redirects the immune system to attack cancer cells but is only effective in treating blood cancers like childhood leukaemia and not solid cancers like brain tumours.

Doctor Misty Jenkins said about the study which was published on Tuesday:
“Our research is teaching us how to make CAR-T cells even more efficient and without the toxic side effects so that we can safely extend the therapy to cover a broader range of cancers.”
Brain cancer sufferers have some of the poorest tumour survival rates and new treatment methods are needed.
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But CAR-T therapy needs further modification to be effective.
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The study was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal and was co-funded by the Victorian government.

https://www.9news.com.au/health/2018/02/14/00/49/heart-attack-patients-told-to-discuss-sex

Heart attack survivors are being encouraged to talk to their doctor about sex, with many health professionals failing to address the health issue. A Heart Foundation survey, released on Wednesday, has found fewer than one in four health professionals regularly conduct conversations about sexual activity and intimacy with their heart attack patients. This is despite most (eighty percent) believing it is an important issue to be discussed. When they do bring up the subject of sex, the patient is more likely to be a woman than a man.

The two thousand seventeen survey of two thousand fifty one health professionals also found just over half reported being comfortable discussing sexual activity and intimacy with people from all cultures and backgrounds. Chief Medical Advisor for the National Heart Foundation, Professor Garry Jennings, says it is disappointing to think “we haven’t moved on” from any embarrassment the topic may cause. He says it’s also concerning people may be instead seeking information on the issue of sex after a heart attack from social media.
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The survey was conducted after a patient study and review of the research suggested the resumption of sexual activity after a heart attack remains a major concern among patients. Heart Foundation Queensland Health Director Rachelle Foreman said: “Heart attack survivors are worried about having another heart attack, performance, and over-exertion.”
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Because of this, patients are urged to raise the issue with their doctors or seek support from counsellors.

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