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Fall in vaccinations, progress for digital health and state-run pharma…? This week’s Fri

Pharma shoots down labour’s plans to cut drug prices

Labour’s promise to “take on pharmaceutical companies” which “deny life-saving and life-changing medicines to ill patients by charging extortionate prices” has been disputed by many representatives in pharma.

At the party’s annual conference in Brighton this week, Jeremy Corbyn announced plans to “redesign the system to serve public health – not private wealth – using compulsory licensing to secure generic versions of patented medicines.”

In response to the plans, the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry said “compulsory licensing – the seizure of new research – is not the answer. It would completely undermine the system for developing new medicines.”

Read more in the PharmaTimes.

Number of children in England being vaccinated reaches six-year low

New data from NHS Digital shows that the coverage of all the routine childhood vaccinations, including MMR, has fallen in the past year and is now at a six-year low.

MMR coverage for children reaching their fifth birthday fell from 95% in 2016-17 to 94.9% in 2017-18. This fails to meet the 95% rate recommended by the World Health Organisation.

Public Health England’s head of immunisations Dr Mary Ramsay said while the percentage changes might seem small, the impact should not be underestimated. “It’s vital that everyone recognises the value of vaccines and takes up this life-saving offer.”

Read more at BBCNews.

Push Doctor to be live with 200 NHS GPs by the end of the year

The online GP provider, Push Doctor, has announced it will partner with 200 NHS GP surgeries, so that NHS patients will have access to free online GP consultations rather than having to wait to see a doctor in person.

The decision to expand the service was made after the success of pilots with nine GP surgeries across the UK.

Dr Dan Bunstone, CMO at Push Doctor said: “We’re on a mission to bring tens of millions of video consultations to the nation for free on the NHS, so they have the option of seeing a doctor on their phone, tablet or computer wherever they are.”


Approval for revolutionary new class of cancer drugs

A new cancer drug called Larotrectinib has been approved for use in Europe for the first time.

Larotrectinib is part of a completely new class of cancer drugs, called tumour agnostic-drugs which have the potential to treat a range of different types of cancers by targeting specific genetic abnormalities in tumour cells.

Dr Julia Chisholm, a children’s cancer consultant at the Royal Marsden Hospital, told the BBC. “It is a really exciting thing, as is it works across a range of cancers. It’s not confined to one.”

Read more in at BBCNews.


Quote of the week

In response to research showing that fertility treatment may increase the risk of prostate cancer, Professor Allan Pacey, an expert in male fertility at Sheffield University said:

“We may need to rethink the delivery of men’s health, given that we know that men are reluctant to engage in healthcare services and sometimes wait too long to go to the GP once symptoms develop,” he said. “Perhaps all men who are diagnosed with a fertility problem in their 20s and 30s should be given a leaflet explaining what this might mean for them in their 50s and 60s, so that they can be aware of possible future problems and be encouraged to visit their GP a bit quicker.”

Read more at The Times.

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