Falling drug breakthroughs ‘a myth’

Falling drug breakthroughs ‘a myth’

There have been suggestions the collection of new drugs being delivered to market is falling

Fears the variety of new medicines available to patients within the UK is declining had been rejected.

Researchers found the selection of drugs introduced over the past 30 years had actually increased slightly, the BMJ Open journal reported.

This comes despite persistent suggestions they’ve dwindled, the Birmingham University team said.

Researchers came to the realization after analysing data within the British National Formulary guide on drugs.

They checked out what percentage new medicines were added between 1971 and 2011.

The average collection of drugs introduced per year was just below 23, varying from nine inside the lowest year to 34 within the highest.

The researchers said there have been steep peaks and troughs over this era, including a dip between 1998 and 2006. Since then the numbers have risen again.

It has meant lately there were 0.16 more drugs being produced per annum than there have been inside the 1970s.


Previous research projects that have found declines within the variety of new medicines fascinated about smaller periods of time, the study said.

But it still said the rising costs of drug development and the rise in time in takes from to bring a brand new drug to the market remains an ongoing problem for the pharmaceutical industry.

Report author Dr Derek Ward said: “We started this research because there has been a substantial amount of pessimism in the industry and among pharmaceutical companies in regards to the variety of new drugs that were attending to the market.

“We found that watching the info over the future there has been a slight increase. It truly is obviously a fine thing for patients, if more new medicines are getting available.”

Dr Phil L’Huillier, from Cancer Research Technology, a part of Cancer Research UK, said: “Here is encouraging news. Although the price of developing drugs is accelerating, meaning that the variety of drugs per pound invested in research and development is decreasing, there’s a wealth of innovation in UK drug discovery.

“The landscape is shifting with pharmaceutical companies increasingly collaborating with academia for discovery and development of medication. This more collaborative model is being applied to the high-risk innovative early stages of drug discovery, with companies taking over the highly expensive later stage development.

“Cancer Research Technology has recently launched a £50M fund to stimulate investment in drugs discovery inside the UK to support innovative early-stage drugs discovery and development and bridge the distance between work achieved within the lab right as much as early phase clinical trials to prove drugs can benefit for patients.”

Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry chief executive Stephen Whitehead said: “It’s a common myth that our industry has struggled to develop new medicines, when actually the research pipelines of businesses are healthy.”

Diabetes kidney damage test ‘missed’

Diabetes kidney damage test ‘missed’

A simple dipstick test checks for albumin levels

A quarter of individuals with diabetes don’t get the kidney checks they have to detect early signs of wear and tear, a charity suggests.

Diabetes UK says data from the National Diabetes Audit in 2010/11 shows around 25% of individuals in England did not get the urinary albumin check.

Just under 10,000 people in England and Wales needed treatment for diabetes-related kidney failure that year.

The charity said the figures were “concerning”.

Kidney failure is a standard complication in those with diabetes.

‘Missing out’

Around three million people within the UK are thought to have diabetes, with most cases being Type 2.

Another 850,000 are thought to have undiagnosed Type 2 diabetes,

There are quite a few checks which individuals with diabetes should undergo annually – to make sure that potential complications including eye and foot problems are picked up early.

The urine check is certainly one of two which could detect kidney problems.

The second is a blood test which shows how well the kidneys are working.

More people have this – but Diabetes UK warns the urine test can also be a necessary portion of the check-up.

However it says portion of the difficulty may be so simple as patients forgetting to take a urine sample to their appointment.

Barbara Young, chief executive of Diabetes UK, said: “It truly is concerning that 1 / 4 of folks with diabetes are missing out on a straightforward check that may identify kidney problems early enough to slow their progression.

“Kidney failure will possibly not worry those with diabetes up to other complications equivalent to blindness and amputation, however it could have an equally devastating impact on quality of life.

“All those who find themselves not getting this check are at increased risk of needing dialysis and ultimately of dying early.”

And she said the price of treating kidney failure was a part of the rationale diabetes costs made up 10% of the NHS budget.

IVF guidelines raise age limit to 42

IVF must be given sooner and to older women, says NICE

Nearly 14,000 women inside the UK became pregnant through IVF in 2011

Couples struggling to have a toddler should get fertility treatment more quickly and older women should gain access to IVF, new NHS guidelines say.

IVF have to be offered after two years of failed attempts, not the present three, says the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence.

And the higher age limit should rise from 39 to 42 in England and Wales.

Some fertility experts fear the information might not result in changes because they don’t seem to be binding.

Around one in every seven heterosexual couples within the UK who’re trying for a toddler experience problems conceiving a kid.

In 2011, nearly 14,000 women became pregnant through IVF.

The new guidelines, which apply to England and Wales only, state that ladies aged between 40 and 42 may be offered one cycle of IVF provided that it truly is their first time and that they have enough eggs.

The age limit for NHS-funded fertility treatment is 38 in Scotland and 39 in Northern Ireland, in keeping with the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority.

Tim Child, who helped devise the ideas and is the director of the Oxford Fertility Unit, said the call was not taken lightly.

“When a lady reaches her mid-30s her fertility begins to say no, much more so from her late 30s.

“However, many ladies do conceive naturally inside the 40 to 42 year age group. But in case you can’t, and who’ve been diagnosed with the medical condition of infertility, then improvement in IVF success rates during the last decade mean that we’re now ready to offer cost-effective treatment with a single IVF cycle.”

Medical advances mean this age group has similar success rates to that of young women when the unique guidelines were introduced in 2004.

The update still recommends women under 40 are offered three cycles of IVF. However, that is frequently not offered within the NHS.

A report in 2011, showed one in four NHS trusts offered the entire three cycles. Each round costs £3,000.

Some fertility experts raised concerns that the expanded recommendations won’t happen in actual fact.

Dr Sue Avery, a spokesperson for the British Fertility Society and from Birmingham Women’s Fertility Centre, told the BBC: “It’s good that there is the chance there, however the funding doesn’t match.

“i am unable to see any prospect of it happening immediately. Our biggest concern is hanging directly to the funding we have now.”

The guidelines also introduced rules designed to noticeably reduce the collection of twins and triplets being born.

‘Increased risks’

Multiple births, a consequence of implanting multiple embryo to extend the chances of success, are one of many biggest risks related to IVF for both mother and child.

Twins are usually born smaller and earlier – triplets much more so.

Women under the age of 37 must have just one embryo transferred of their first cycle.

Subsequent cycles, and cycles in older women, can consider implanting two embryos.

Most couples should now not be offered intrauterine insemination at the NHS, as its results are not any better than sex.

However, when there isn’t an option – comparable to same sex couples and patients with certain disabilities – it will still be an option.

Dr Tony Falconer, president of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, said fertility problems may have a devastating effect on couples.

He welcomed the information, but warned there have been risks attached.

“The advice that IVF treatment be made available as much as the age of 42 provides more choice for ladies, but they ought to still comprehend the increased risks related to pregnancy at advanced maternal age,” he said.

NHS failings ‘being suppressed’

NHS failings ‘suppressed for electoral reasons’

Even failing NHS trusts “needed to deliver excellent news for the minister”, Prof Jarman said

An independent expert on mortality rates has suggested that ministers have suppressed details of NHS failings to bypass losing votes.

Prof Sir Brian Jarman said a “basic problem” with the NHS was that the govt both provided health services and monitored them.

In a report out on Tuesday, he says 14 NHS trusts totalled 13,000 more deaths than the national average in 2005-10.

Former Health Secretary Andy Burnham said he tried to flush out problems.

Mr Burnham, now shadow health secretary, was answerable for the NHS between June 2009 and will 2010 and said he left warnings in place at five of the 14 trusts and took particular action at Basildon and Thameside.

The report, which was commissioned by the govt. within the aftermath of the Stafford Hospital scandal, is anticipated to set out how the 14 trusts should improve their care.

It was written by the medical director for the NHS in England, Professor Sir Bruce Keogh, with contributions from Sir Brian.

BBC health correspondent Jane Dreaper said the high death rates at Stafford Hospital were explained away on the time, in preference to used as an alarm signal which must have triggered further investigation,


Sir Brian told the BBC: “Among the basic problems is that the federal government is liable for provision of the health service but additionally for the monitoring of it.

“The NHS is awfully popular, and quite rightly so, within the country, they usually do not need a foul news story for electoral purposes.”

In an interview with Sky News, he said: “After they had a controversy with quality, they couldn’t really say what it was, so things were suppressed…. spin.

“Effectively that they had to deliver excellent news for the minister. The minister then indicated that the pressure came from Number 10. Although he then denied it.”

In response, Mr Burnham said the last Labour government had “established independence” by establishing the independent regulator and that “was not the move of a central authority that desired to hide”.

He said the Francis Report into care at Mid Staffs had checked out this and “said no minister did anything wrong”.

“If there’s evidence bring it forward… and that i will answer it,” he added.

The trusts under review serve a complete population of virtually six million people.

They are: Basildon and Thurrock in Essex; United Lincolnshire; Blackpool; The Dudley Group, West Midlands; George Eliot, Warwickshire; Northern Lincolnshire and Goole; Tameside, Greater Manchester; Sherwood Forest, Nottinghamshire; Colchester; Medway, Kent; Burton, Staffordshire; North Cumbria; East Lancashire; and Buckinghamshire Healthcare.

The Keogh report will not be expected to contain figures projecting what the consequences of poor care could have been, our correspondent added, and comparing death rates is a posh undertaking.

But Sir Brian said: “Taking a look at the 14 trusts, in the event you say what number of deaths would they have got had, had they’d the national death rate, over the past five years it’d were about 13,000 fewer deaths.

“This implies really that we’ve got multiple other hospitals which are the same as Mid Staffs. i might put Mid Staffs in in regards to the top third of these 14.

“We’ve another group of Mid Staffs hospitals.”

Fizzy drinks tax needed – doctors

Tax fizzy drinks and ban junk food ads, say doctors


Obesity is the “single greatest” threat to health, say the doctors

Fizzy drinks ought to be heavily taxed and junk food adverts banished until after the watershed, doctors have said, in a choice for action over obesity.

The Academy of Medical Royal Colleges, which represents nearly every doctor within the UK, said ballooning waistlines already constituted a “huge crisis”.

Its report said current measures were failing and called for unhealthy foods to be treated more like cigarettes.

Industry leaders said the report added little to the talk on obesity.

The UK is among the most obese nations on this planet with a few quarter of adults classed as obese. That figure is anticipated to double by 2050 – a 3rd of primary school leavers are already overweight.

Doctors fear that a rising tide of obesity will pose dire health consequences for the nation.

The Academy of Medical Royal Colleges is a “united front” of the medical profession from surgeons to GPs and psychiatrists to paediatricians. It says its doctors are seeing the results of unhealthy diets day-to-day and that it hasn’t ever come together on such a difficulty before.

Its recommendations include:

  • A ban on advertising foods high in saturated fat, sugar and salt before 9pm
  • Further taxes on sugary drinks to extend prices by no less than 20%
  • a discount in fast food outlets near schools and leisure centres
  • A £100m budget for interventions akin to weight-loss surgery
  • No junk food or vending machines in hospitals, where all food must meet a similar nutritional standards as in schools
  • Food labels to incorporate calorie information for kids

Prof Terence Stephenson, the chair of the Academy, evoked parallels with the campaign against smoking.

He told the BBC: “That required such things as a ban on advertising and a discount in marketing and the association of smoking with sports – that helped people move faraway from smoking.”

He said there has been no “silver-bullet” for tackling obesity, instead the full culture around eating had to change to assist you make healthy decisions.

“i select what I eat or whether I smoke, what people have told us is that they want help to swim with the tide instead of against the present to make the healthy choice the straightforward one,” he said.

While the report makes a raft of recommendations, Prof Stephenson attacked sugary drinks for being “just water and sugar” and lambasted a culture where it was deemed acceptable to drink a litre of fizzy drink on the cinema.

A tax was had to help “encourage people to drink fitter drinks,” he said.

“Doctors are usually accused of playing the nanny state, we didn’t hear from a single individual that said they liked being overweight, everybody we met wanted help from the state and society.

“If we did not have such things as this we would not have speed limits that save lives, we don’t have drink-driving limits that save lives, there is a host of items that society and state does to assist us live long, healthy fulfilling lives and we’re just suggesting something similar.”

But Terry Jones, of industry body the Food and drinks Federation, said the report “looks a moist squib and to feature little to a vital debate”.

“The Academy of Medical Royal Colleges has presented as its recommendations, a set of unbalanced ideas apparently heavily influenced by single issue pressure groups,” he said.

“FDF had hoped that today’s report would have looked seriously at how the food industry and the medical profession would have worked together to tackle obesity, and genuinely brought new insights to bear on empower healthier choices and alter behaviour to deliver better long-term public health outcomes. This report fails to do this.”

The British Soft Drinks Association rejected the concept that a tax on soft drinks, which it said contributed “just 2%” of the whole calories inside the average diet, would address an issue “that’s about overall diet and levels of activity”.


Dr Aseem Malhotra, a cardiologist who helped draw up the report, has noticed increasingly more of his patients are overweight and stricken by obesity related illnesses.

He told the BBC: “The foundation cause is the food environment, it’s like telling children going right into a sweet shop to not eat sweets.

“There’s nothing wrong with the occasional treat, but those treats have insinuated themselves into the daily diets of many people.

“There’s an oversupply of inexpensive sugary foods, clearly regulation is wanted.”

The Department of Health in England has a group up voluntary agreements with the food industry as a part of its responsibility deal.

Health minister Lord Howe welcomed the report and said he desired to see “businesses intensifying their efforts to boot”.

He said: “To tackle the rising tide of obesity the industry, healthcare professionals, government and individuals all have to continue working together to get results, that is why our Call to Action sets out how important here is.

“Government is already helping people make healthier choices by working with industry to scale back fat, salt and sugar in foods and by giving children and families advice on the way to eat well, get active, and live longer through Change4Life.”

Tories dismiss tobacco link ‘smears’

Conservatives dismiss Lynton Crosby tobacco link ‘smears’

Grant Shapps says the govt has a very good record on reducing smoking

Labour’s questions about whether David Cameron’s elections adviser tried to persuade policy on tobacco packaging amount to a “smear”, the chairman of the Conservative Party has said.

Two shadow ministers have written to invite whether Lynton Crosby was interested by the call to delay plans to herald plan cigarette packets in England.

The Times says his company is utilized by tobacco giant Philip Morris.

But Tory chairman Grant Shapps said Mr Crosby had no role in setting policy.

Ministers were thought keen to head ahead with the cigarette packaging proposal, designed to deter teens from smoking by making the packets less attractive.

But a call was delayed last week, after a Department of Health consultation found views on whether this will be effective were “highly polarised”.


Under the plans, resembling the system recently introduced in Australia, the standardised packets would all be the identical colour, with an analogous font, and carry a prominent graphic warning.

The Times reports that Mr Crosby’s lobbying firm Crosby Textor (CTF) was advising Philip Morris, whose brands include Marlboro, since November.

CTF was also employed by British American Tobacco in Australia, however the company said the lobbyists had not worked on its campaign against plain packaging there.

Shadow health secretary Andy Burnham and shadow cabinet office minister John Trickett have written to the cupboard secretary to invite whether Mr Crosby has had any influence on UK tobacco policy.

Mr Burnham told Sky News’ Murnaghan show there must be “more talk about the federal government and the Conservative Party and where they get their money from, and whether or not they are practising the top standards”.

But Mr Shapps responded: “To start with, every policy that is decided upon by the govt is set upon by the coalition… the Lib Dems and Conservatives.”

He added: “Lynton Crosby advises the Conservative Party on political strategy; he doesn’t advise on policy.”

Mr Shapps went on: “That’s looking like a smear campaign.”

On the delay in adopting plain packaging, he said: “Just one country on the earth is doing that: Australia. We don’t have any evidence a method or another whether it really is reducing smoking.

“This country has a superb record on reducing smoking… We aren’t in any respect afraid to take steps. [But] we wish to take steps according to evidence.”

In a second letter, Labour’s Mr Trickett asked the prime minister whether he would sack Mr Crosby if he refused to renounce his “conflicting interests”.

Liberal Democrat MPs have also questioned whether Mr Crosby have to be allowed to continue his work for Number 10.

Former health minister Paul Burstow told the Observer: “Lynton Crosby cannot remain on the heart of presidency while he’s also serving the interests of the tobacco industry.

“If he doesn’t go, the prime minister should sack him.”

The Scottish government says it’ll press ahead with its own plans to introduce plain packaging.

The Welsh government said it was “disappointed” by the delay and would consider “the way in which forward” while the Northern Ireland executive said it’d love to see a “UK-wide” response to the difficulty.

London A&E closures decision due

Decision on NHS North West London A&E closures due

The plan is to shut four A&E units in north-west London

A decision on plans to near four Accident and Emergency (A&E) units in north-west London might be made later.

Under the plans the units in Charing Cross, Central Middlesex, Hammersmith and Ealing Hospitals could possibly be downgraded to urgent care centres.

Patients would instead use A&E services at Hillingdon, Northwick Park, West Middlesex, the Chelsea and Westminster or St Mary’s in Paddington.

NHS North West London say the changes will get a better price and improve care.

A joint committee of Primary Care Trusts will make the overall decision.

Campaign groups against the changes say A&E facilities shouldn’t be taken clear of local communities.

‘Nightmare’ for people

Those hospitals losing the A&E units turns into “local hospitals” providing 24/7 urgent care centres, outpatient and diagnostic services while the five other hospitals will provide A&E services and become “major hospitals” providing specialist care.

Dr Mark Spencer, medical director of North West London NHS, said: “What we’re recommending across north-west London is that we develop five bigger, better hospitals than we now have in the meanwhile.

“We will have consistently large teams of consultants guaranteeing people get the perfect care and in return for that we have to make a few of our hospitals smaller designed across the services they want for his or her area people.”

Bridget Ogden, campaigner at Ealing, said: “i’m really not saying the NHS shouldn’t change.

“i’m to take into accounta good believer so you might deliver services as near people as possible and when something is also done safely in the neighborhood , lets do it in the neighborhood , but think ofyou’ve got to have those facilities in place first.

“Lots of their ideas are in accordance with their vision, I actually have a true fear that their vision goes to show out to be a nightmare for the health of the folks of Ealing”.